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.
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/scallop-war-2014#3jkwsjp

So are they potato scallops, or potato cakes? Or fritters? It depends.
http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/10/potato-scallop-cake-or-fritter-actually-it-depends/

Why scallop anyway? Because of the shape.
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=scallop

Other Australian words with variation in them
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/west/is-it-fritz-or-devon-potato-cake-or-scallop-australias-states-and-territories-each-have-unique-ways-of-saying-things-what-side-are-you-on/story-fngnvmj7-1226960966262

Indonesian cave paintings some of earliest human art, Australian-led study finds
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/indonesian-cave-paintings-some-of-earliest-human-art-australianled-study-finds-20141008-1135ka.html

At 40 KYA (thousand years ago), this beats the Lascaux caves on 17 KYA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lascaux

A list with some onomatopoeic words
http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/onomatopoeia-word-list/

But there are others you wouldn’t expect
http://www.cracked.com/article_19568_10-common-words-you-had-no-idea-were-onomatopoeias.html

including ‘cliché’
http://www.omgfacts.com/lists/12328/The-word-cliche-is-an-onomatopoeia

Search for ‘imitative’ in the Online Etymological Dictionary, and you’ll find a lot more.
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=imitative&searchmode=none

Fun: Animal noises in different languages
http://www.dailybest.it/2013/10/22/versi-animali-tutte-le-lingue/#

And more for Korean
http://domandhyo.com/2014/04/korean-onomatopoeia.html

Onomatopoeia was an early contender for how language got started.
https://freelanguage.org/general-language-info/linguistic-hypotheses-on-the-origins-of-language

Ding-Dong, Pooh-Pooh, Bow-Wow and Ta-Ta
http://originsofhumanlanguage.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/ding-dong-pooh-pooh-bow-wow-and-ta-ta.html

Sound Symbolism in the Languages of Australia
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0092852

How Sound Symbolism Is Processed in the Brain: A Study on Japanese Mimetic Words
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0097905

‘fauxhemian’
http://www.thelmagazine.com/TheMeasure/archives/2010/03/24/on-gawkers-replacement-term-for-hipster-fauxhemian

And a whole lot more
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fauxhemian


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