#EngTalk: Spelling noises? (1)

We are back with David Crystal’s ‘Spell It Out’ today and this time is about…

Spelling noises… is there such a thing? What do you think?

So according to Crystal: “We also need to spell the emotional noises that form a part of conversation. A phonetic spelling turns out not to be so easy to achieve.”

Hmmm…. (That’s one)

So, “spoken language is more than words and sentences”, it “contains quite a few isolated noises” to express emotions called interjections

For example – When we want to “convey throat-clearing” we would use

Ahem

Eham”, “Mhumh”, won’t work

Yet its earlier version, in the 18th century, it would be only

Hem!”

Interjections can be either:

  1. we use sounds at the back of our mouth such as expressing disgust e.g. yuk, ugh, blech
  2. using both lips such as to to express relief e.g. phew, whew
  3. produce a click noise with our tongue such as to express disapproval or irritation e.g. tut – from the 16th century or tck – as Rudyard Kipling would write it, or tsk – popular in the 1940s

Some of these noises spelling are actually “breaking the rules” as they become words with no vowels

Other example would be brr (expressing feeling cold), grr (expressing irritation), shh (be quiet!), pst (calling someone silently) and hmmmm (expressing the person is thinking)

just like what I did in the beginning :)

Hope this #EngTalk has been useful for you! Still curious of this whole noises spelling?

Stay tuned for more next time :)

Compiled and written by @daedonghae at @EnglishTips4u on December 27, 2015

Source: David Crystal’s “Spell it Out”

 

 

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One response to “#EngTalk: Spelling noises? (1)

  1. Pingback: #EngTalk: Tongue twisters | @EnglishTips4U·

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