Onomatopoeia - formal designation?

Onomatopoeia - formal designation?

Postby NathanSmith » June 28th, 2012, 1:05 am

I ran across ψιθυρίζω (whisper) in Sirach and instantly thouguht, "this must be an onomatopoeia." I then read the LSJ entry and it does not say one thing or another about this (unless I missed something). This is not particularly surprising since such a characterization of a word is tangential to the task of a lexicon.

But that leads me to wonder - are there formal etymologic criteria for determining onomatopeia, or is it just "you know it when you hear it"? Anyone know a good list of examples in Greek?

Do people agree that ψιθυρίζω sounds like an onomatopoeia?
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Re: Onomatopoeia - formal designation?

Postby David Lim » June 28th, 2012, 2:44 am

NathanSmith wrote:I ran across ψιθυρίζω (whisper) in Sirach and instantly thouguht, "this must be an onomatopoeia." I then read the LSJ entry and it does not say one thing or another about this (unless I missed something). This is not particularly surprising since such a characterization of a word is tangential to the task of a lexicon.

But that leads me to wonder - are there formal etymologic criteria for determining onomatopeia, or is it just "you know it when you hear it"? Anyone know a good list of examples in Greek?

Do people agree that ψιθυρίζω sounds like an onomatopoeia?


Any such criteria will probably be highly subjective. In any case, Strabo mentioned a few (κελαρύζειν καὶ κλαγγὴ δὲ καὶ ψόφος καὶ βοὴ καὶ κρότος) (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... g=original). Middle-Liddel says that "ψιθυριζω" is from "ψιθυρος" which in turn is "Perh. formed from the sound." (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... s-contents).
δαυιδ λιμ
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Re: Onomatopoeia - formal designation?

Postby Ken M. Penner » June 28th, 2012, 7:02 am

NathanSmith wrote:Anyone know a good list of examples in Greek?

In the prophets I've been encountering συρίζω "hiss, whistle" quite often.
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Re: Onomatopoeia - formal designation?

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 28th, 2012, 2:00 pm

NathanSmith wrote:Do people agree that ψιθυρίζω sounds like an onomatopoeia?


Yes, but that's very subjective. In English, "tissue" and "bless you" both sound like someone sneezing, but I don't think that explains their derivation. I would not call these onomatopoeia.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Onomatopoeia - formal designation?

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 28th, 2012, 4:07 pm

I've always wondered if πτύω was onomatopoeic.
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