In English, we have a number of different onomatopoeias used to describe sounds, like BANG or BOOM. But what if you want to describe the sound of a smile?
Japanese Onomatopoeias: You’re kidding me, right?
If you haven’t discovered this already, the Japanese have a separate grouping of words called giongo (擬音語) and gitaigo (擬態語) that are used to describe sounds coming from animals and people, as well as to describe actions or emotions, respectively.
Of course, when first studying the language, it is important to cover all of the critical vocabulary you need to leverage in basic communication.
However, there will be a time in your life when you invite your Japanese friends to your place for a drink, and they happen to see your pet dog or cat laying quietly on the couch.
If your friend is a Japanese female, this observation will quickly be followed by
and you will be completely lost in translation.
In this simple example, the gitaigo used was モフモフ, and roughly translates to fluffy or soft. This is a relatively simple gitaigo(擬態語), so let’s take a look at another example:
Hey, look! That building’s lights are flashing!
In this example, the gitaigo used is ピカピカ, and is used to add sound to the action of lights flashing. This is the same noise made by Pikachu, which is directly related to Pikachu’s electrical powers.
We hope you enjoyed this article on giongo and gitaigo, and follow Bondlingo to keep up with the latest vocabulary and Japanese lessons ☺