@misc{cogprints3232, editor = {Margaret Magnus}, title = {Onomatopoeia: Cuckoo-Language and Tick-Tocking+?}, author = {Reuven Tsur}, year = {2001}, note = {This is a paper in Cognitive Poetics}, journal = {Iconicity in language}, keywords = {Cognitive Poetics, Onomatopoeia, expressive sound, semitoic systems, translating from one code to another.}, url = {http://cogprints.org/3232/}, abstract = {This paper is a brief phonetic investigation of the nature of onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia is the imitation of natural noises by speech sounds. To understand this phenomenon, we must realize that there is a problem here which is by no means trivial. There i s an infinite number of noises in nature, but only twenty-something letters in an alphabet that convey in any language a closed system of about fifty (up to a maximum of 100) speech sounds. I have devoted a book length study to the expressiveness of lang u age (What Makes Sound Patterns Expressive? -- The Poetic Mode of Speech Perception), but have only fleetingly touched upon onomatopoeia. In this paper I will recapitulate from that book the issue of acoustic coding, and then will toy around with two spe ci fic cases: why does the cuckoo say "kuku" in some languages, and why the clock prefers to say "tick-tock" rather than, say, tip-top. Only fleetingly I will touch upon the question why the speech sounds [s] and [S] (S represents the initial consonant of sh oe; s the initial consonant of sue) serve generally as onomatopoeia for noise. By way of doing all this, I will discuss a higher-order issue as well: How are effects translated from reality to some semiotic system, or from one semiotic system to ano ther.U.cns} }