Baby's crying sound?

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shymzk:
How does a baby cry in English, typically when they are first brought to the world? I mean, is there an onomatopoeia typically denoting such, just as there is bow-wow for dogs, meow for cats, or the like? My native language is Japanese, and as some of you might be aware, it is a language abundant in words, or linguistically significant series of sounds, depicting all kinds of typical sounds out there in the world or even the absence of any sounds. The first utterances of babies are almost exclusively described as "ogyaa". I just wondered if there is a counterpart for this in English.
Sho
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CyberCypher:
"shymzk" (Email Removed) wrote on 11 Dec 2003:
[nq:1]How does a baby cry in English, typically when they are first brought to the world? I mean, is there ... of babies are almost exclusively described as "ogyaa". I just wondered if there is a counterpart for this in English.[/nq]
"Waaa!" for crying and "Goo" for talking, usually.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
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shymzk:
[nq:1]"Waaa!" for crying and "Goo" for talking, usually.[/nq]
Thank you for the quick response. Found thousands of waaas on the web. Is this applicable to the crying of a relatively older child, say, 7, 8 years old, or older? How about to a fully grown up adult?

I think I've seen "Yowl" as an infant's cry in a comic strip or something, and was kind of anticipating it for an answer. Could you describe to what extent this applies?
Sho
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Tony Cooper:
[nq:1]How does a baby cry in English, typically when they are first brought to the world? I mean, is there ... of babies are almost exclusively described as "ogyaa". I just wondered if there is a counterpart for this in English.[/nq]
Couldn't tell you. And, I heard my grandson cry just a few minutes after he was born a couple of month ago. Didn't sound like "ogyaa". No question, though, that some crying was done.
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shymzk:
[nq:1]Couldn't tell you.[/nq]
I have a problem understanding the tense in English from time to time. (1) Did you mean you were not able to come up with any such word till you saw someone else give me "waaa" for a possible counterpart, or (2) was your emphasis more on your intention of letting me know that there probably is nothing that instantly comes to the mind of most native speakers?
[nq:1]And, I heard my grandson cry just a few minutes after he was born a couple of month ago. Didn't sound like "ogyaa".[/nq]
Can't blame you for that. :-)
[nq:1]No question, though, that some crying was done.[/nq]
Of course. Otherwise, you would have missed the chance of becoming a grandpa, ... assuming that it was the arrival of your first grandson, that is.
Sho
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CyberCypher:
"shymzk" (Email Removed) wrote on 11 Dec 2003:
[nq:2]"Waaa!" for crying and "Goo" for talking, usually.[/nq]
[nq:1]Thank you for the quick response. Found thousands of waaas on the web. Is this applicable to the crying of a relatively older child, say, 7, 8 years old, or older? How about to a fully grown up adult?[/nq]
There's no absolute rule, as far as I know. Each cartoonist chooses a particular word or words to indicate crying, blubbering, sobbing, etc. Sometimes you'll see "Sob!" or "Blubber" or "Boo hoo hoo". It's the cartoonist's choice.
[nq:1]I think I've seen "Yowl" as an infant's cry in a comic strip or something, and was kind of anticipating it for an answer. Could you describe to what extent this applies?[/nq]
Sure, that also appears, but not everyone uses it. Japanese popular culture and American popular culture are significantly different in that way. There is a greater commonality of shared cultural knowledge in Japan than in the US because in the US there are far more cultures and subcultures than in Japan.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
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Mark Brader:
[nq:1]Thank you for the quick response. Found thousands of waaas on the web. Is this applicable to the crying of a relatively older child, say, 7, 8 years old, or older? How about to a fully grown up adult?[/nq]
If they're making the same sound that a little baby would, then the same onomatopoeia "waa" (waaa, waa, etc.) would be used to describe it.
[nq:1]I think I've seen "Yowl" as an infant's cry in a comic strip or something, and was kind of anticipating it for an answer.[/nq]
To me that's a descriptive noun or verb, not an onomatopoeia. I might write:
"This isn't good", John said.
"You're right. I have a bad feeling about this", Mary agreed. "Waaa", the baby yowled. "Waa!"
I think of yowling more as something that cats do than babies, but it could go either way.

Mark Brader, Toronto > "We did not try to keep writing until (Email Removed) > things got full." Dennis Ritchie

My text in this article is in the public domain.
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Don Phillipson:
[nq:2]"Waaa!" for crying and "Goo" for talking, usually.[/nq]
[nq:1]Thank you for the quick response. Found thousands of waaas on the web. Is this applicable to the crying of a relatively older child, say, 7, 8 years old, or older? How about to a fully grown up adult?[/nq]
Eheu in Latin seems the most onomatapoeic
for adult weeping, much more so than the English
word "sob." Weeping is in fact quite a complicated behavior, involving chest and lungs and tear ducts as well as throat and voicebox (in babies no less
than adults.)

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
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Chris Kern:
[nq:2]Couldn't tell you.[/nq]
[nq:1]I have a problem understanding the tense in English from time to time. (1) Did you mean you were not ... intention of letting me know that there probably is nothing that instantly comes to the mind of most native speakers?[/nq]
"(I) Couldn't tell you" means "I don't know".
As you've no doubt noticed, English has much less in the way of gitaigo/giongo than Japanese. Also, while in Japanese it seems like almost every giongo can also be used as an adverb of sorts (i.e. "ogyaa ogyaa to wameita" or "ame ga zaa zaa futteru"), most of the sounds in English only show up in pictures/comic strips or very informal writing.
-Chris
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