Boom, crash, and beep.

These words are onomatopoeic; they sound kind of like the thing they describe. Onomatopoeia has contributed to our vocabulary in some unexpected ways, and may have even helped get language started in the first place. But does it work in all languages? And why doesn’t the word onomatopeia sound like the thing?

Linguist Daniel Midgley makes a splash on this episode of Talk the Talk.

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Promo with Kylie Sturgess

Show notes

#scallopwar: One tweet was enough to set it off.

So are they potato scallops, or potato cakes? Or fritters? It depends.

Why scallop anyway? Because of the shape.

Other Australian words with variation in them

Indonesian cave paintings some of earliest human art, Australian-led study finds

At 40 KYA (thousand years ago), this beats the Lascaux caves on 17 KYA

A list with some onomatopoeic words

But there are others you wouldn’t expect

including ‘cliché’

Search for ‘imitative’ in the Online Etymological Dictionary, and you’ll find a lot more.

Fun: Animal noises in different languages

And more for Korean

Onomatopoeia was an early contender for how language got started.

Ding-Dong, Pooh-Pooh, Bow-Wow and Ta-Ta

Sound Symbolism in the Languages of Australia

How Sound Symbolism Is Processed in the Brain: A Study on Japanese Mimetic Words


And a whole lot more

Show tunes

‘Boom Boom’ by Trio
from the album Trio and Error
In English

In German

‘Suit’ by Boom! Bap! Pow!
from the album So Heavy

Photos from “Dinner with Daniel and Ben” at the Classroom in North Perth