Saturday, 27 December 2008

Examples of Onomatopoeia Poetry

From Batman

I can’t remember how old I was when I was first told of such word mechanisms as alliteration and onomatopoeia, quite young I think, but I remember being immediately interested.

I assume you came here as a teacher looking for teaching resources for Onomatopoeia so let’s start with a definition and a list of examples.

Onomatopoeia is the use of words whose sounds make you think of their meanings.

buzz, thump, pop, bam, bang,
bing, boom, buzz, crackle, clang,
clatter, creak, ding, dong, boom
fizz, glug, growl, grunt, zoom
howl, hum, knock, whizz, plop
murmur, slap, ping, pong, pop,
rip, roar, smack, snap, splish
squawk, thud, tweet, wham, squish
whoosh, yawn, yelp, squeal, moan
rumble, croak, gurgle and groan

As a Geordie I have to add my favourite... 'plodge' as in “I plodged in the clarts”

Onomatopoeia as a concept needs to be taught but by the time it is, children have already come across it. Indeed every child learns it as soon as they can speak. Their first party piece is to answer “What does a duck say?” And one of the earliest songs they were taught was the onomatopoeia classic Old MacDonald's Farm. I deliberately left out of the list earlier the animal sounds woof, meow, neigh, oink, cluck, baaa, moo, quack etc

Even before their parents have told them, Fisher Price has done it subliminally. Indeed here’s a quote from Fisher Price describing a 12-18 month old child
“He/She says his/her first word (any time after 8 months). First words generally relate to objects: cats, dogs and buses are popular, as are sounds associated with food such as "Yummm."

You might think Nursery Rhymes are a rich source of onomatopoeia but I’m not sure they are. Two show promise in the title Ding Dong Bell and Baa Baa Black Sheep but there’s no more in the body of the rhymes. I’m not sure if this is a nursery rhyme or just a poem for kids but it’s a good example

Horsey horsey don't you stop
Just let your feet go clippetty clop
The tail goes swish and the wheels go round
Giddy up, we're homeward bound.

Of Sound Mind

Plink, plank, plonk
Splish, splash, splosh
Is a load of tosh

by Patrick Winstanley

Advertisers say "Don't sell the sausage, sell the sizzle" which I think is self explanatory

Kelloggs use Onomatopoeia in their Rice Krispies adverts/marketing
Snap crackle pop

Here's another Example of Onomatopoeia Poetry in advertising

Plop, plop fizz, fizz…
Oh what a relief it is!”

In 1979, Alka-Seltzer used that jingle for relief of indigestion.
It became one of the the most recognized commercials

Children are also exposed to Onomatopoeia in comics per the illustration that heads this piece

When it comes to Onomatopoeia in proper grown up poetry it is out there but not in great abundance. It can and is used in serious poetry but in my view lends itself to childrens or comic verse/song

Nevertheless there are examples and let's start with

Come Down O Maid by Alfred Lord Tennyson

The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.


The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe lets us hear sounds made by different types of bells. He speaks of "tinkling" sleigh bells; "clanging" fire bells; mellow "chiming" wedding bells; "tolling," "moaning," and "groaning" funeral bells.

Hear the sledges with the bells--
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells--
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

The whole Tennyson poem is here

and the Poe poem is here

By the way onomatopoeia is a hard word to spell so why not, while on the subject of hard words, touch upon mnemonics and here's one
Poe wrote "Bells" and he's in the word, right at the difficult bit


Let's finish with this one

Ball starts to drop,
then with a mighty plop
it lands in water cold
followed by golfer bold.
With a swash and a swish
he frightens all the fish.
Four-iron thrashing
water splashing,
golfer getting wet,
but he’s not done yet.
Then with a swish and a swash
he frees ball from the wash.

Rabbit's Foot Gives Golfer Str, a poem by William Thomas Dodd from German

But hey lets go back to the fun stuff. The best onomatopoeia is found in songs with animal sounds and the best of those is this, as mentioned earler
I do hope these Examples of Onomatopoeia Poetry have helped

1 comment:

Julia said...

Hi, I'm doing GCSE English for the first time at age 44. Your piece has been very informative. Thanks Julia