instead of writing a poem today, i thought i’d share some of my favourite words that ‘move’. and by ‘move’ i mean that they contain, within their own sounds, the kinaesthetic image of their meaning. no, they are not an onomatopoeic but i think they’re beautiful sounding words that, i feel, i should use more:
1. percolating, as in “the coffee is percolating” or in a more unusual phrase “watch as the world percolates”. the word itself contains a very similar image to the process of something passing through a filter, brewing and foaming up. say it slowly with your tongue, you can feel that you build up air during the ‘er’ sound which is then forcefully released with the ‘c’ at the back of your mouth. this emphasis resembles a bubble popping and, overall, makes for a very satisfying-sounding word.
2. chunky, as in “chunky peanut butter” or in a more unusual phrase “a chunky eight-year-old old”. it’s a simple one, but it’s been one of my favourite words for a very long time. probably the first image that strikes me when i hear it is chunky tomatoes. i’m not too sure why. ‘chunky’ once more resembles its meaning. the ‘ch’ at the beginning of the word is a diphthong, involving both friction and plosive within the mouth when you say it. this makes for a very heavy sound the instant you hear the word. it also involves the use of the ‘k’ sound once more. this makes the word even more interesting, as it does not only emphasize the size of the word but also the satisfying sound it makes. lastly, it ends with a ‘y’ which just makes it so much more cuter and adorable.
3. effervesce, as in “she effervesced with pride” or “the water began to effervesce”. this one is a little like the first word, but at the same time, creates a completely different effect in terms of sounds from the first two. unlike the first two, that create stops within the mouth, effervesce is unique as it is made up of a number of fricative sounds, in contrast, the labiodental voiced and voiceless fricatives ‘f’ and ‘v’. like the word, this means that you have a friction between your upper teeth and lower lip that can be likened to generating small bubbles, similar to the meaning of the word.
so today, these are the three words that mimic, in the most subtlest ways, their meanings. so go ahead and experiment with them in sentences and poems. 🙂
till next time!