A comprehensive listing of the phonetic renderings used in Japanese comics (manga) to represent not only sounds but various other… states of being, shall we say? For instance, ‘sticky, gummy’ (beto beto), ‘tongue hanging out’ (biron), ‘a head being shaken violently in the negative’ (buru). More recondite is bon ‘sound of magical transformation or appearance, often seen with a puff of smoke’; I think my favorite is uttori ‘enraptured by beauty.’ (Via No-sword.)


  1. Anonymous says

    Ahg! I was about to list a bunch of Japanese onomotopeia from my “Say it in Japanese” that I leave in my bathroom for reading, but it seems like my 10 year old son has stolen it! I’d call him a bastid, but he’s legit! My Japanese girlfriend, Fumie, uses these incessantly. Muesli being poured out of a box has a word.

    How about “soro, soro” for Yoruba meaning the sound of water dripping… (s=sh)

    Wait til I pick him up from school tomorow. Ha-sha-sha-sha-sha! (Or as we say in Hungarian, tshi-hu!)

  2. No point trying to stay anonymous around here, Zaelic!

  3. chiri chiri ho ho ho

    [trans: frizzy refined feminine laughter]

  4. I’d say “wow” if it did not now appear so lacking in nuance.

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