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Onomatopoeic Phrases (1)
Expressions to describe "laughing"
Related Resources
Onomatopoeic Expressions
Onomatopoeic Phrase (2)
Onomatopoeic Phrase (3)

Japanese is filled with onomatopoeic phrases, the words that describe sound or action directly. There are two categories: giongo and gitaigo. Giongo are the words which express voice or sounds. Gitaigo are the words which express actions, states or human emotions. They are often made of more than one word, which is the same word repeated again.

Onomatopoeic phrases are widely used in news headlines because they are perfect to describe things using short words. They are frequently used in advertising because of their catchy, appealing sounds. Manga (Japanese comics) probably couldn't exist without them.

English also has onomatopoeic phrases, but their use is limited, more practical and not as poetic as those found in Japanese. Japanese onomatopoeic phrases are frequently use by poets or writers of Japanese literature.

Laughing can be described by different verbs in English. However, Japanese has only one "laughing" verb, warau. It can't be used to describe how you laugh without the addition of onomatopoeic phrases. Here are onomatopoeic phrases that describe laughing. Some of the phrases are combined with the verb "warau" and some with the verb "suru (to do)".

kusu kusu
くすくす
to giggle
gera gera
げらげら
to laugh loudly, to guffaw
niko niko
にこにこ
to smile
niya niya
にやにや
to grin
nita nita
にたにた
to smirk
ahaha, hahaha
あはは、ははは
the sound of loud laughter

Click here to learn more about onomatopoeic phrases.

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