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I've noticed that there are some sounds like:

  • Animal sounds
  • nature sounds e.g. raining sound

what are these called in English?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

They are onomatopoeic words.

The definition of onomatopoeic reported by the NOAD is the following:

using or relating to onomatopoeia: onomatopoeic words like bang and coo.

Onomatopoeia is defined as "the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g., cuckoo, sizzle)."

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Are animal sounds in this category? – Gigili May 27 '11 at 13:17
@Gigili Yes, it includes also animal sounds, like cock-a-doodle-doo, coo, moo, oink, etc. – kiamlaluno May 27 '11 at 13:22
@Gigili Any animal sound that is constructed based off of sounding like that animal falls under that category. So, sounds like (in English) "moo" or "meow" or "caw" or "dook dook" are onomatopoeic words. – Grace Note May 27 '11 at 13:22
The animal sounds themselves are not, but the words we use to name what those sounds are are onomatopoeic. The sounds a bee makes is s sort of sharp humming, but in English we imitate it by using the word 'buzz'. – Mitch May 27 '11 at 13:23

I think the term you're looking for is Onomatopoeia, which means a word that represents a sound by sounding kinda like it. So for example, using "dook dook" to represent the sound a ferret makes, is done because the sound a ferret makes sounds like "dook dook".

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