Japanese imitative words

4 Oct

I made another video in which I explained how we use Katakana for imitative words in Japanese.

There are a lot more of this kind, and there’s no way I can cover everything. I just wanted to tell you the image. 🙂


17 Responses to “Japanese imitative words”

  1. Walter October 5, 2009 at 7:25 pm #

    So interesting, Kirin ! I have seen these words used all over in manga everywhere , to express sounds . Like goro goro ( roll roll )
    And sure enough , some of them are in katakana , some in hiragana.
    Ofcourse we've know them in Western languages and comics too ( English dogs bark with ' woof " , French dogs with "Wouf" and everyone knows that frogs go "ribbit" )
    As a kid the first thing that I noticed in American comics was all the "Pow"," Kapow", "Zoom" etc word balloons for sounds .
    But Japanese comics ( manga ) have so many more.
    Do you use them in spoken language too or just written ?

    • kirin October 8, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

      Good comment, Walter. YES, we use them both in spoken and written ways. Gorogoro for rolling, such a nice example you know. We also use it in this way in conversation:

      A: How was your weekend?
      B: I was staying at home whole days and was doing gorogoro!
      (zutto ie de gorogoro shiteitayo!)
      (ずっと いえ で ごろごろ していたよ!) 
      *I put a space for your easy reading, but usually no space between these words.

      Does this B person rolling on his floor? No, he means he was relaxing at home. (LOL)

  2. Catherine October 6, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    How cute! These words are often found on neoprints and some character goods, aren't they? ^_^

    • kirin October 8, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

      Oh are they really? Maybe…you are right. 🙂

  3. Catherine October 6, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    Mm… Japanese has lots of onomatopoeia!

    • kirin October 8, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

      Oh I'm learning a new word, "onomatopoeia".
      It's good, I teach you what I can, and I am also learning from you! 😀

  4. sheryl October 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    Hi Kirin
    I have question here 🙂 which I need your help. どんな
    and 何の means ~ what kind/what sort of. Are they the same meaning? They seems to be confusing to me, how & when should I use them? 🙂

    Thank you

    • kirin October 8, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

      I'll give you quick samples as follows:

      A: I like him so much.
      B: For example? = What makes you feel like that?

      A: I'll take care of this, no matter what happens to me.

      A: What kind of person is she?

      A: I have no idea what you are talking about.

      A: I'm keeping this now.
      B: What for?

  5. kirin October 8, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    I have a feeling that どんな is more appropriate for the meaning of what kind of/ what sort of. As you may know どんな is easy form from どのような, which exactly means "what kind of…?" ^ ^; I wonder if I explained it well…In the future I wish my blog readers who study Japanese also feel free to answer all these questions. They may answer such questions properly. hehehe… :p

  6. Becca October 9, 2009 at 4:37 am #

    all the words you picked are so CUTE! haha… now I know why the frog from sanrio is called keroppi ❤ kero kero!

    • kirin October 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

      Exactly! Kero kero keroppi! XD
      All these imitative words may sound kinda cute. Nice comment, thank you!

  7. sheryl October 11, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    Hi Kirin

    tks for answering my question 🙂
    I have more question to trouble you. This one will be very long. 失礼しました

    I have question regarding changing the verb form the word
    Could you guide me on that.

    For exmaples:
    鳥が鳴く ——-> question, How do I change the 鳴く
    (なくnaku)Godan to different form like
    (1) ない

    there are several more examples for Ichidan Verb like テレビを見る—–>miru (みる)

    and irregular verb like 宿題をする——->suru
    all these seems confusing to me.

    I wonder how am I going to change to the various form(1-5)

    thank you

    • kirin October 12, 2009 at 8:30 am #

      For question, 鳥は鳴きますか?(this is polite way) 鳥は鳴くか?(this is not polite way)
      nakanai, 鳥は鳴かないですか? 鳥は鳴かないか?
      nakimasu, 鳥は鳴きますか?鳥は鳴くか?(same as above)
      nakitai, 鳥は鳴きたいですか?鳥は鳴きたいか?
      naite, 鳥は鳴いていますか?鳥はないているか?
      naita 鳥は鳴いたのですか? 鳥は鳴いたか?

      For question, テレビを見ますか?テレビを見るか?
      For question, 宿題をしますか?宿題をするか?

  8. kirin October 12, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    But…to be honest, I have no idea what you mean form 1-5, because that's not the way I learned it. So my answer may not be proper…I cannot give you grammar guidance because I didn't study how to teach Japanese. Sorry for that.

  9. sheryl October 12, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    thanks for the info 🙂 😉

  10. ita nuraita December 20, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    i like this tutorial.it improve my japanese language

    • kirin December 20, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

      Thank you. ^ ^;

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