Word of the day – pachi pachi

Today’s word, パチパチ (pachi pachi) is an onomatopoeic Japanese word meaning:

1. pleasant clapping sound;
2. sound of something hot bursting open (i.e. popcorn);
3. incessant blinking

It came up while I was chatting with some Japanese friends earlier today and is one of the many onomatopoeic words in Japanese.

Here are some more examples:

バラバラ (bara bara) – rattle
クスクス (kusu kusu) – giggle
ポチャポチャ (pocha pocha) – splash
フサフサ (fusa fusa) – a full and attractive head of hair
ギトギト (gito gito) – being oily
イライラ (ira ira) – the state of being frustrated
ポカポカ (poka poka) – the state of being nice and warm

See also this site and this site.

Interestingly, some such words describe visual phenomena, such as blinking, or feelings rather than sounds. Does any other language do this?

By the way, apologies if you’ve been unable to access this blog, my other blog, the Omniglot forum or some of the pages on Omniglot recently. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to find a solution to this problem yet, though it usually sorts itself out after a while. If any of you have any ideas how to fix it, please let me know.

This entry was posted in Japanese, Language.

One Response to Word of the day – pachi pachi

  1. Jangari says:

    Interesting that they’re all reduplicatives.

    Wagiman is heavy on onomatopoeia, though mostly they convey true sounds, like ‘wilik-wilik’ for galah (if you’ve ever heard galahs sing out, you’ll know what I mean). But other terms convey motions, like ‘borrodop’ for gallop. I haven’t explored the onomatapoeia thing extensively, but I can tell you that wink is ‘nyimok-nyimok’, swell (as of a boil, say) is ‘bowh’ and to be hot (temperature-wise) is ‘wuh-wuh’.

    Seeing my infant nephew’s reaction to hot things leads me to think the last is essentially iconic too, though not exactly onomatopoeic.

    (The ‘h’ is a glottal stop)

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