Wordplay Wednesday Onomatopoeia : Playing with Sound Words
Onomatopoeia is the use of a word which imitates the natural sound of something, by mimicking what is being described. Basically, it refers to sound effect type words like: “meow”, “boom”, “slurp”, “moo”, “bam” and so on.
Using onomatopoeia makes your writing more effective by appealing directly to your readers’ sense of hearing. It creates rhythm and meaning to both poetry and prose. It helps the writer convey a more exact meaning.
Here are some sample sentences written first without and then with the use of onomatopoeia.
The wind blew though the trees.
The wind whooshed and swished through the trees.
The rock dropped into the pond and sank.
The rock splashed into the pond and sank with a gurgle.
The sounds of the barn animals below kept him awake.
The moos, baas and whinnies from the barn below kept him awake.
There are many examples of onomatopoeia in songs, poems, movies and books.
“Boom, boom, boom, even brighter than the moon.” Firework By Katie Perry
“ Ding, dong, the Witch is dead.” The Wizard of Oz
The classic Dr. Seuss book, Mr. Brown Can “MOO” Can you? is an entire book paying homage to the wonders of onomatopoeia.
Comic books and illustrated novels do this quite well. They often surround the words with zigzags or clouds, and of course use lots of exclamation points.
How many examples can you come up with? Think about animal sounds ( meow) , nature sounds ( swish) and people sounds ( burp).
Here are a couple of fun ideas to play around with onomatopoeia:
- Write a poem using lots of sound words.
- In your writing try to incorporate some sound words to enhance the sensory experience of your work.
- Create an onomatopoeia alphabet book with fun-to-read sentences and creative illustrations.
- Create an art piece using favorite sound words by writing in different fonts and designs, comic book style.
- Collect sound words from magazines and make a collage.
I decided to create a Poem. This kind of poetry is a fun way to introduce the use of onomatopoeia to children. This is also a lot of fun to read aloud.
It starts with a trickle, a drip, a drop.
Then gets louder plop, plop, plop.
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter faster still
I hear it pinging on my windowsill.
A crackle of lightning flash, flash.
Then comes thunder, boom! crash!
The rain is rushing.
Listen to the music of a thunderstorm.
It begins to slow, splitter splatter, drop.
I think the rain is about to stop.
One more rumble and the storm is done.
Now for some puddle splashing fun.
Steam is rising from the street,
But splatting in the squishy mud can’t be beat!
Dana Kumerow 6/16
Have some fun with onomatopoeia!