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Sound Words Add Punch to Writing and Conversation

woman with eyes looking to right with right hand cupped to ear listening
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“Sound Words Add Punch to Writing and Conversation” by Joan Y. Edwards

Swish! The door closed quickly behind me.
The little girl squished between her parents at the theatre.
Yada, yada, yada. The latecomers went on and on with their excuses.

Onomatopoeia is a figure of speech used when someone creates a word or words to imitate, resemble, or describe what you hear when people, animals, and inanimate objects makes sounds. I call them: “Sound Words.”

The song, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” demonstrates the use of sounds to make this song more fun…an oink, oink here, a cluck cluck there.

When my nephew, Peter was 3 or 4 years old, he used onomatopoeia. (He didn’t know it, but he used it.) He climbed up on a bookcase to get a little drum. He and the bookcase came tumbling down. He said, “I climbed up and it said, “Timberrrr.” I was glad he was okay. His words made us all laugh! It broke the tension.

I am sure most of you use onomatopoeia (sound words) without even thinking of it. It comes naturally to many people. As you notice more sound words, you will get in a rhythm and think up your own.

In his Chief Storyteller blog post, Ira Koretsky lists nearly two hundred onomatopoeic words in 11 categories. Fuel for getting your ears tuned in for sound words.

Listen to see if your favorite characters on TV shows or in movies use onomatopoeia to describe their current situations or recap an event.

Use sound words in poems, conversation, text messages, emails, or memoirs about your childhood days. Any occasion is a good time to add new words to your very own onomatopoeia (sound word) collection. Using sound words adds punch to your writing and your conversation. 

Phyllis Heaton shared a sound passage with us:  “The campfire snapped and spit glowing sparks up towards the harvest moon. In the vast darkness something make loud crunching sounds as it moved across the fallen leaves that lay on the forest floor. I shivered and wondered whose idiot idea it was to camp in the Sleepy Hollow woods.”

Thank you, Phyllis.

Please share your favorite sentences using sound words with me in the comment area. If you give me permission, I’ll add yours to this post with your first and last name.

Resources for You

  1.  Ira Koretsky. Chief Storyteller. “Onomatopoeia, a Powerful Way to Improve Communication:” https://www.thechiefstoryteller.com/2013/10/09/onomatopoeia-powerful-way-improve-communication/
  2. Joan Y. Edwards. “Sounds Can Heal:” https://joanyedwards.com/2012/04/07/sounds-can-heal/
  3. Joan Y. Edwards. “Sounds of Words Bring Characters to Life:” https://joanyedwards.com/2015/05/16/sounds-of-words-bring-characters-to-life/
  4. Jules Horne. “Sensory Writing-Sounds, Music:” https://www.method-writing.com/sensory-writing-sounds-music/ 
  5. Julie Shackman. “How to Use Sounds in Writing:” https://jerichowriters.com/how-to-use-sounds-in-writing/
  6. M. Harris Editor. “Write Onomatopoeia:” https://mharriseditor.com/write-onomatopoeia/

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