Booooo! Down with onomatopoeia!  

I'm here to right an egregious wrong!  “Onomatopoeia” has stolen the rightful place of “Echomimetic” in our hearts and minds

Using etymology as a guide; the word "onomatopoeia"  is simply the method – any method – of creating new words. The clue is in the name it is literally ὀνοματοποιία: ὄνομα for "name" and ποιέω for "I make".  Its Greek for “Name making”.  

So for example if movement inspired the name of something then that too would be onomatopoeia.  A sandwich that explodes egg onto your chest when you eat it is an “egg banjo” because of the the rapid up and down wiping-off-yolk movement accompanying yoke spillage.  The methods of word creation are almost endless: abbreviations (TARDIS), incorporating descriptive terms (Spongebob Squarepants) et.c.  All onomatopoeia.

I know I’m in danger of crossing the line into etymological fallacy (to presume that the origin of a word is the meaning of the word) in fact I think I've probably overshot that particular line by quite a few miles; but I beg the reader's indulgence.   I put it to you dear reader that this simple literal translation of "name making" is correct and that we should not be using onomatopoeia to mean “the sound is the sense”.  That is a mistranslation and it has lead in my opinion to a widespread misuse.

Echomimetic is a beautiful and more specific Greek term for a type of onomatopoeia.  Where a sound inspires a word's creation. Literally "ηχώ" echo, meaning "sound"; and from "μιμητικό", meaning "to copy”.    
You can almost imagine the schoolboy classics class where this definition first became confused, where a general example was first used to outline a larger principle and a few generations of school kids later the meaning had been lost. 

There are so many good reasons to substitute this word into your vocabulary. Chief amongst them is that we know the compound words already.  They're intuitively correct, we use the words “echo” and “mimic” on a daily basis.    “Sound-imitating” that's what you are literally doing.  

Once you incorporate it into your lexis you'll realise that echomimetic is so much easier to use.  Look at these examples: “I think you'll find that more specifically “thwock” is an example of echomimesis” or “echomimeticaly speaking the correct word should be spelt s-p-l-u-d-g-e” It just rolls off the tongue!  In comparison what is the study of onomatopoeia? Onomatopoetics? I don't know. You can't use "onomatology", because he's on our side, the study of word creation! But Echomimetics?  (Yeah, I’d study that.  Maybe become a Echomimetician.  Or a professor of Echomimetics later in life.  Give something back to the uni after along career of listening to things and working out how to spell it.)  

So in conclusion; I ask you to stand up for the little guy, fight the fight for the forgotten synonym, bring back ECHOMIMETIC!

Send the message BOOMING over the airwaves, BANG a nail into the door of convention and let every PLONKER  know they must be BARKING to ignore this fantastic and underused word!

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.