words that sound like what they describe
It would be remarkable if non-English speakers got the same feeling. Or if most English speakers agreed on the meaning of a word they don't know just from the sound of it, if the agreed upon meaning were an abstract concept with no actual sound. If a particular sound is used in a language for a thing or concept that triggers strong emotions, that sound may eventually be associated with that emotion; think the concept is called phonetic clichц or something. This effect may explain some of the feelings you get of a word sounding like what it means, even if the concept it describes has no sound. In Norwegian for instance: adjectives/adverbs (and some substantives) starting with sl (often pronounced with a sh sound instead of s in many dialects) often has a slightly negative, disgusting, wet or soft/lazy, value, such as slange (snake), sleip (slippery, or figuratively: sleazy/dishonest etc), slaps (wet snow), slim, (slime), slurpe (slurp), slapp (limp/soft, tired, lazy), slцеv (not sharp, dim witted, dazed), etc, etc. Theres a lot of neutral words starting with sl too, but it seems if you create a nonsense word starting with sl it would automatically be considered a slightly negatively charged word. In fact it's hard to come up with a short new word with typical letter combinations starting with sl, because this process has been used to create adjectives etc. for so long. (I noticed while translating that many of these have a common Old Norse origin in both English and Norwegian, so this sl association might also occur in English, but I'm not sure if it is so. )
I have a problem thinking of any. All words I know the meaning of, feels like what they mean in the sense that it triggers my memory of what it means.
Words I don't know, will the first time I hear/notice them don't feel like anything or sound like it could mean something (probably based on similarity to words I do know or to an actual sound something makes) but this feeling turns out to be wrong just as often as you'd expect if the feeling were picked at random (unless the word is actually related to a word I already know and thus making it sound like what it actually means). Many of those sl words I mentioned, really feel like they sound like what they mean, but I know it's mostly because of the sl sound it feels like that. Thoug slaps (wet snow, slurry) may actually be partly based on an onomatopoeia for the sound it makes if you step in it. The word onomatopoeia comes from the combination of two Greek words, one meaning "name" and the other meaning "I make," so onomatopoeia literally means "the name (or sound) I make. " That is to say that the word means nothing more than the sound it makes. "Boing," for example, means nothing more than what it sounds like. It is simply a sound effect, but one that is very useful in making writing more expressive and vivid. Many onomatopoeic words can be verbs as well as nouns. "Slap" for instance, is not only the sound that is made by skin hitting skin, but also the action of hitting someone (usually on the face) with an open hand. "Rustle" is the sound of papers brushing together, but it also indicates the action of someone moving papers around and causing them to brush together, thus making this noise. The concept of onomatopoeia words can be difficult to understand without examples. Examples give you the chance to see and sound out actual words. Below are five categories of onomatopoeic words with several examples of each.
The list includes words with letter combinations that are commonly used to represent certain sounds. Many times, you can tell what an onomatopoeic word is describing based on letter combinations contained within the word. These combinations usually come at the beginning, but a few also come at the end. The following examples have been grouped according to how they are used. 1. Words Related to Water These words often begin with sp- or dr-. Words that indicate a small amount of liquid often end in -le (sprinkle/drizzle). trilling, melodic thrill whoosh, passing breeze frog croaks, bird whistles 2. Words Related to the Voice Sounds that come from the back of the throat tend to start with a gr- sound whereas sounds that come out of the mouth through the lips, tongue and teeth begin with mu-. 3. Words Related to Collisions Collisions can occur between any two or more objects. Sounds that begin with cl- usually indicate collisions between metal or glass objects, and words that end in -ng are sounds that resonate. Words that begin with th- usually describe dull sounds like soft but heavy things hitting wood or earth. 4. Words Related to Air Because air doesn t really make a sound unless it blows through something, these words describe the sounds of air blowing through things or of things rushing through the air. "Whisper" is on this list and not the voice list because we do not use our voices to whisper. We only use the air from our lungs and the position of our teeth, lips and tongues to form audible words. 5. Words Related to Animal Sounds If you ve spent significant amounts of time with people from other countries, you know that too.
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