Onomatopoeia – Concept, classification and examples

We explain what an onomatopoeia is, how this linguistic representation and onomatopoeia of animals can be classified.

Onomatopoeia are often used in children’s literary works.

What is an onomatopoeia?

Onomatopoeia is called linguistic representation of natural or non-discursive sounds using words. That is, the formation of words in the language itself to imitate certain non-verbal sounds, such as the sounds of animals, natural phenomena, impacts, devices, etc.

Onomatopoeia are considered a stylistic device of the language and are often used in literary works, radio soap operas and comics, in addition to being characteristic of children’s speech, in which animals are named according to their onomatopoeia: “the woof-woof ”For dog. Onomatopoeias are not universal, however, and each language has its own, according to its phonetic and cultural characteristics.

Onomatopoeias are usually distinguished according to the idea they seek to convey, as follows:

  • Auditory onomatopoeias. Those that represent the sound through words created expressly for it, such as “tick-tock” for the sound of the clock, “bang” for the firing of a cannon, and so on.
  • Visual onomatopoeias. Characteristics of a certain type of poetry, they sought to represent a visual image through the spatial arrangement of words and / or letters on the page, creating the so-called calligrams or graphic metaphors.

Animal onomatopoeias

The most common onomatopoeia of animal sounds in Spanish are:

  • Chickens: cheep
  • Roosters: kikiriki
  • Chickens: clo
  • Ducks: quack
  • Cats: meow
  • Dogs: Wow
  • Sheep: bee
  • Pigs: oinc
  • Frogs: croac
  • Cows: moo
  • Crickets: cri-cri
  • Bees: bzz
  • Snakes: H.Hs
  • Horses: iiih
  • Howls: auu
  • Grunts: grr