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Thread: How do you spell non-word expressions and sounds?

  1. #1
    Introvert Gehanna's Avatar
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    How do you spell non-word expressions and sounds?

    For example:

    How do you spell the sound of someone screaming?

    I would imagine that people who write children's books or comics are quite adapt at spelling non-words but I can see where any writer would likely face the need to describe some event, expression or sound in this manner.

    I don't know if there is a term used to describe what I am talking about but I thought it might be nice to begin a reference list.

    I've been out of kindergarten far to long to remember phonics so if you have a non-word to share would you please list it here?

    Thanks in advance,
    Gehanna

  2. #2
    Wandering vaguely Torin's Avatar
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    I tend to avoid using sounds, although I've used "Ugh!" for an expression of disgust and a few others. When it comes to screaming, I prefer a simple He shrieked in agony. I find it loses impact if you put "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" instead. As long as readers can understand what you mean, I suppose the exact spelling doesn't matter too much.

    Torin
    I have a mind like a steel...thingmabob...you know...doohickey.

    http://www.cebarrett.com for excerpts from "Angels Among Us" and more. What if you were a closet heterosexual? What would you do when you met the woman of your dreams?

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    My Name is Sweet Thing trumancoyote's Avatar
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    You're speaking of onomatopoeia, and they're my best friends!

    The Japanese have a rather thorough system of sound-words, from the sound of walking quickly, to the sound of a sharp object being stuck into something blunt -- we could all learn from their sounds, as I feel that a good onomatopoeic expression can really vivify ones work.
    "I don't understand," Hans Castorp said. "I don't understand how someone can not be a smoker -- why it's like robbing oneself of the best part of life, so to speak, or at least of an absolutely first-rate pleasure."

    The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann (John E. Woods, Trnsl.)

  4. #4
    Introvert Gehanna's Avatar
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    I love that word.

    Onomatopoeia

    It's very cool.

  5. #5
    Wandering vaguely Torin's Avatar
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    But onomatopoeia is more for actual words that sound like what they mean. You know, like buzz and swish. I suppose it can also be used to describe sounds themselves, like khkhkkhkhkhkhkhkhk, which is what my cat does before it hacks up a hairball, or lllllllllllg, which is the sound my son makes in his throat when he finds the aforementioned hairball. When it comes to writing, what works *for me* (YMMV) is to say it, and only use the actual sounds when it seems absolutely necessary. And, of course, sometimes it is absolutely necessary.
    I have a mind like a steel...thingmabob...you know...doohickey.

    http://www.cebarrett.com for excerpts from "Angels Among Us" and more. What if you were a closet heterosexual? What would you do when you met the woman of your dreams?

  6. #6
    Agent of Doom Unique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torin
    But onomatopoeia is more for actual words that sound like what they mean. You know, like buzz and swish. I suppose it can also be used to describe sounds themselves, like khkhkkhkhkhkhkhkhk, which is what my cat does before it hacks up a hairball, or lllllllllllg, which is the sound my son makes in his throat when he finds the aforementioned hairball. When it comes to writing, what works *for me* (YMMV) is to say it, and only use the actual sounds when it seems absolutely necessary. And, of course, sometimes it is absolutely necessary.
    That is so funny. I'm sorry, but my cat makes some of weirdest sounds, too. I call it 'harking up a hairball' - it sounds like 'YOw-Wrack'. Unfortunately, the sound my son makes is, 'MOM!!' ah well, this probably doesn't help for the specific sound Gehanna was looking for - but it struck me funny, none the less....
    and Truman, you're right - English, though expressive - has serious limitations.
    Eat right, exercise, die anyway.

  7. #7
    Introvert Gehanna's Avatar
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    You ever listen to bowel sounds with a stethoscope? ... How do you spell one of those sounds? lol

  8. #8
    My Name is Sweet Thing trumancoyote's Avatar
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    Well, they're called borborygmus, and I'd say they sound like this:

    Grrglrrgfuppllrrgupff.
    "I don't understand," Hans Castorp said. "I don't understand how someone can not be a smoker -- why it's like robbing oneself of the best part of life, so to speak, or at least of an absolutely first-rate pleasure."

    The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann (John E. Woods, Trnsl.)

  9. #9
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Poooooooppoooooothhhhhhhhhhhpooopoooopoooopoopoooo oooooo

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  10. #10
    Wandering vaguely Torin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trumancoyote
    Well, they're called borborygmus, and I'd say they sound like this:

    Grrglrrgfuppllrrgupff.
    Actually, borborygmus is pretty onomatopoeic itself, isn't it?

    And, Unique, you're lucky your son calls you to the site. My boy makes the noise of ultimate disgust and leaves me to find it with my bare feet as I walk into the room. This is one of the main reasons I no longer go barefoot in the house. Ever.

    Last edited by Torin; 05-24-2005 at 06:15 AM.
    I have a mind like a steel...thingmabob...you know...doohickey.

    http://www.cebarrett.com for excerpts from "Angels Among Us" and more. What if you were a closet heterosexual? What would you do when you met the woman of your dreams?

  11. #11
    Official Daydreamer of AW Elincoln's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torin
    Actually, borborygmus is pretty onomatopoeic itself, isn't it?

    And, Unique, you're lucky your son calls you to the site. My boy makes the noise of ultimate disgust and leaves me to find it with my bare feet as I walk into the room. This is one of the main reasons I no longer go barefoot in the house. Ever.

    I have a worst one. Hearing the cat give out the hairball, then hearing the dog lick up what she found.

    Can't seem to sleep after hearing that.
    Elaine Lincoln


  12. #12
    Introvert Gehanna's Avatar
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    Borborygmus. This is the first time I've ever seen this word despite the fact I've heard what it is many times. It makes me think of the Fiji islands for some reason.

  13. #13
    Fig of authority
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    "Borborygmus" sounds as if it should mean "the condition of having a fat nose."

    I'd read "tsk, tsk" in books for years before I realized it meant the act of making a smacking noise with tongue and palate. I did know it expressed disapproval, though from context, I guess.
    Last edited by reph; 05-24-2005 at 12:23 PM.

  14. #14
    Wandering vaguely Torin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reph
    I'd read "tsk, tsk" in books for years before I realized it meant the act of making a smacking noise with tongue and palate. I did know it expressed disapproval, though from context, I guess.
    I always want to pronounce "tsk" as "tisk", without making the tongue on palate noise. Then again, in this house, we use IMHO as a word, pronounced the way it's spelled, and ROFLMAO, "rofflemao", the "mao" as in "tse tung", or "zedong". I can't keep up with the changes in Chinese spellings.

    I think I need more coffee. Or less. Hmmmm.
    I have a mind like a steel...thingmabob...you know...doohickey.

    http://www.cebarrett.com for excerpts from "Angels Among Us" and more. What if you were a closet heterosexual? What would you do when you met the woman of your dreams?

  15. #15
    My Name is Sweet Thing trumancoyote's Avatar
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    The problem w/ Chinese spelling is that it isn't standardized -- there are about four accepted ways in which one can render their sounds into romanized characters.

    So it gets confusing :B

    As for the 'tsk' sound, if you read some novels written by or about African Americans, they describe it as 'sucking teeth,' which I find to be a very effective representation of the sound.
    "I don't understand," Hans Castorp said. "I don't understand how someone can not be a smoker -- why it's like robbing oneself of the best part of life, so to speak, or at least of an absolutely first-rate pleasure."

    The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann (John E. Woods, Trnsl.)

  16. #16
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Thank goodness I don't have to use this in anything I'm writing at present, but this word combination came to me via my wife who remarked that she and her sisters and mother like to go "yard saleing" meaning they stop at any yard sales they spot. My problem is with how would one properly spell the "saleing" portion. As you can see, I've settled on what appears to get the meaning across, but I'm not at all certain if it's correct. However, when you speak it, the words flow reasonably well and the meaning is almost intuitive.

    Oh, she should get credit for inventing this combination. Her name is Peggy Kuzminski.
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    practical experience, FTW mdmkay's Avatar
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    Shhhhhhh don't tell anyone because this is a really big secret. We've been known to make up spellings and words to describe sounds.......(that's it...I told...now I'm going to get kicked out of the children writer's clubhouse). Wa-wa--waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy (that's supposed to be crying......darned if I didn't forget how to spell it...laughing)
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    get thee behind me, satin SuperModerator poetinahat's Avatar
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    Talking Don Martin

    Here's one link to the oddball sound-spellings of MAD's Don Martin - he made onomatopoeia a comic art.

    I remember others not listed there:

    Sound of...
    - an overtaxed corset giving way: FLOOBADOOF
    - a poke in the eye: SKLERCH

    I could go on all day. I never fully recovered from losing my MAD Super Special with the Don Martin stickers enclosed.

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    L'enfant terrible VOTE_BOT's Avatar
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    get thee behind me, satin SuperModerator poetinahat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VOTE_BOT
    Blort!
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