CultureEssayEtymologyIdiomJapanese traditionOnomatopoeiaUncorrected

Giongo and Gitaigo (Onomatopoeia)

  • Giongo and Gitaigo


    Up to now, I introduced several times about Japanese giongo (擬音語) / giseigo (擬声語) and gitaigo (擬態語).

    Both of them can be translated into English as onomatopoeia, but there is a clear difference in the way of use.
    これらはどちらも ‘onomatopoeia’ と英語に訳されますが、明確な使い方の違いがあります。

    Giongo/giseigo is a term that represents an actual sound caused by people, animal, or things.
    For example, a dog’s bark is “wan wan” (ワンワン), and a sound of thunder is “goro goro” (ゴロゴロ).

    On the other hand, gitaigo represents someone’s/something’s state or emotion that doesn’t generate any sound.
    For example, something shining/new/beautiful is “kira kira” (きらきら), and staring at someone’s face or something is “jiro jiro” (じろじろ).

    It might be hard for foreigner to understand gitaigo, but it’s necessary in our daily conversation.

    From now on, I will sometimes write about Japanese gitaigo, adding a tag “onomatopoeia.”
    今後、’onomatopoeia’ というタグを付けて、たまに日本語の擬態語を紹介していこうと思います。

    Original sentence