Monday, March 12, 2018

Onomatopoeia for a light beam

No, not light sabers (Star Wars) this time, but a beam of light. Although light doesn't make any sound, there are some rare instances in the English language where a sound word appears to refer to something purely visual. Like bling bling for example. In Japanese this is much more common. Pika means dazzle or glimmering light. One can get ideas from other literary sources, too. In the early 20th century there was a style of poetry called visual poetry. In Willard Bohn's book about visual poetry, he describes how the poet Gino Severini referred to light as going 'szszszszszsz' and 'stzsssssss'. Finally, people often make up onomatopoeia on the fly, especially in comics. You could make up an expression to indicate a light beam, ask people to read it, and find out whether it comes across the way you intend.

Gray Scale Photography of Lighthouse