Onomatopoeia


potential candidates:
samphappalāpā  (idle chatter). sounds similar to American expression "yada yada yada" or "yakkity yak"
ābādha (disease, affliction). sounds like someone with an affliction moaning
viccikicca (skeptical doubt) sounds like someone who's jumping back and forth unable to decide between two choices.


from a thread on pali@yahoogroups


frank k wrote:

As I've been picking up new pali vocabulary, I've noticed possible
onomatopoeia (words that sound like or suggest what they are). I'll
abbreviate as OP from here on . Does there exist any compilation of such
OP's, or do any dictionaries confirm whether a word is an OP?

Here are a few words flipping through pali primer that seem like OP:

hasati : laughs, "ha!"
kakaca: saw (noun) makes a sound like "kakaca"
chindati: cuts ("chin" is a cutting sound)
patati: falls (i picture the sound of someone falling down the stairs)
kāka: crow (doesn't a crow make a "kaw" sound?)

If such a compilation does not exist, perhaps we can create a wiki page to
compile suspected OP's?
Such a list would be very useful for beginners who want to pick up some
easier words to add to their vocabulary.

On a related note, does such a compilation or list exist for pali words
that are easy to learn due to common indo-european root, for examples
"pundit" <=>"pandita"?
"māta" <=> mamma (mother)?


Bryan L. wrote:
... Murray Emeneau, A Canadian born linguist specializing in south Asian languages, recognized the same phenomenon and wrote about it in

M. B. Emeneau, "Onomatopoetics in the Indian Linguistic Area. ", Language, 45 (1969): 274-99. Also Available in Anwar S. Dil,  Language and Linguistic Area (Stanford: Stanford University Press), 250-293.

He points out that it is found in Dravidian and Munda languages (indigenous languages of India) as well as Middle Indic (i. e. Indo-Aryan languages of Indo European ancestry, i. e. that came originally from outside of India) languages like Pali. He argues that it is a pan-Indic trait, a feature of the Indian linguistic area (also called "Sprachbund"). On page 269-289 he gives a list of onomatopoetic words found in Dravidian and Indo-Aryan that you can look at. Some Skt. and Pali examples he gives are

budbuda, "bubble"
miṇmiṇa, "speaking indistinctly throught the nose"
murumurā "crackling"
baḍabaḍai, "laments" (Prakrit)
gaḍavaḍa "confusion" (Prakrit)
Skt. gargara >P. gaggara, (“roaring”) 

Skt. bharabhara > P. babbhara ( “a confused,
rumbling sound”) , 

Pāli cicciṭāyati (“hiss”, “fizz”, “sizzle”),

to name a few. Prakrit is a form of Middle Indic (of the Indo-Aryan group like Pali).

Some dictionaries may mention that a word is believed to be OP, but they are never consistent, because it is a personal thing whether a word sounds OP or not. It would certainly be a valuable contribution to try and compile such a list,



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