Sunday, April 21, 2013

ワンワン (another word for DOG)

An alternative to inu (犬 ), one can use ワンワン (wan wan) to refer to our canine friends. 
As was explained to me, a typical usage of this word would look something like this:  a parent is out walking with his/her young child.  A dog appears on the sidewalk across the street.  Parent then says to the child, "ほら!ワンワン来たよ!"  (Translated literally, this would mean "Look!  A dog came!"  A more natural translation would simply be "Look!  A dog!")

ワンワン also denotes the sound of a bark.  Its English equivalents:  bow wow, woof woof, arf arf, etc.  This was probably the first example of Japanese onomatopoeia that I learned.  I've heard that the Japanese language makes more use of onomatopoeia than does English, although I haven't seen any hard evidence or research.  Intuitively, though, I believe it.

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