Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2019

Honors Major Advisor

Jill Beckman

Thesis Mentor

Jill Beckman


This thesis investigates an uncharted sector of the study of onomatopoeia in Japanese—children’s literature. After briefly exploring the definition of onomatopoeia and ideophone, the linguistic characteristics of these words in Japanese, and the lack of attention given to ideophones occurring in Japanese children’s literature, I proceed to investigate the linguistic properties of ideophones which occur in a corpus of Japanese children’s literature that I compiled. This examination uncovers a set of novel ideophonic forms that appear in two books, prompting an informal study investigating native Japanese speakers’ reactions to said forms. This study, carried out in the form of a series of interviews, seeks to explore native speakers’ sound symbolic intuitions when presented with novel ideophonic items out of context. Upon completion of this study, I found several notable similarities between interviewees’ answers for specific items and even across multiple items. Considering that notable and interesting results appeared despite some limitations to this investigation, at the end I discuss the need for further research to more deeply and widely explore territory scouted by this project.


sound symbolism, ideophones, Japanese

Total Pages



Copyright © 2019 Onae Parker