"Japanese Sound FX!":
All About Those Weird
Katakana Words That Are Sounds
It's pretty handy to have words like "moo" to describe the sound cows make. That's because sometimes it's just easier to use sounds to refer to things that are hard to describe. But did you know the Japanese language uses a sound to refer to things like wrinkles, love, and robots? If that arouses your curiosity, you may want to take a look at Manga University's "Kanji de Manga: Japanese Sound FX!"
What It Does For You and
Why I Like It
This thin but excellent book sheds light on those katakana words that constantly pop up in the Japanese language. The Japanese term for these words is giseigo. "Japanese Sound FX" uses manga art to help explain the Japanese onomatopoeia. Again, a cow's "moo" is onomatopoeia: it's a word that sounds like what it is. This book shows you the Japanese equivalent of animal sounds (like "moo"), and many other popular uses for onomatopoeia.
It also gives some rhyme and reason to why onomatopoeia are used so much in Japanese. It tells you that the katakana that sound like sounds are actually used to express four things: sound effects (giseigo), voiced sounds/utterances (giongo), feelings (gitaigo), and psychological conditions (gijougo). You'll learn which funny-sounding katakana words fall into which category, and you'll also learn a lot of new expressions.
The only downside of the book is that it's not hundreds of pages longer. It shows you so many interesting, useful, and weird katakana words, that you get really curious to learn what else might be out there you haven't heard of.
My Humble Overall Opinion
The book will help make sense of the katakana sound effect words you've always scratched your head about. It will also show you a ton of new ones. It's useful and a fun surprise. 10/10.
Kanji de Manga:Japanese Sound FX!. Glenn Kardy and Chihiro Hattori. Manga University, 2007. ISBN-10: 4921205124.
Did you know...
Most Japanese people today can't read the old written language, known as Classical Japanese.