On my bookshelf

  • "The Breathing Book" by Donna Farhi
  • "Confessions of a Public Speaker" by Scott Berkun
  • "My Freshman Year" by Rebekah Nathan
  • "Power Presentation" by Patsy Rodenburg

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


What is that word and what does it mean?

Well you may not have visited this one since Grade 11 English, but it can definitely add a life and energy to anything you say. Onomatopoeia is a term that refers to words that sound like the word they represent. So "splash" is what happens to water when a big truck runs through a puddle. If you say, "splash" the sounds you make are the exact sounds you hear before the water from that puddle soaks you. (As it does me every time I walk home in the rain). "Whisper" is mostly made up of voiceless consonants, so you have no choice but to slightly, "whisper" whisper when you speak it.

Our language is made up of so many onomatopoetic words, but in our on-going attempt to be "cool" we tend to cover them up: to deny their life. In skipping over the sounds of such rich words, we rob the listener of a sensual experience of language. No wonder people's attention spans are short-- we are constantly denying each other the excitement of fully savouring each sound.

So buzz, slip, slide, bark, splash, whiz and gurgle into your next conversation and see how much fun you and your listener can have!