I started thinking about imitative words again this morning when someone I was working with misspelled "kyoodle." Imitative words have caused massive trouble for many a speller; in fact, "lulliloo" was nearly my downfall on a written test in 2015. At times satisfyingly phonetic, at times frustratingly not at all phonetic, there's no denying that imitative words are difficult. However, there's also no denying that imitative words can be a lot of fun. Here are some of my favorites.
Bisbigliando. This word is a musical direction for harps meaning "very light and murmuring." It originally comes from the Italian word for "whisper," which was created as an imitation of the actual sound of whispering. This word is fascinating to me because it shows that although the formation of imitative words occurs in all languages, it still follows the patterns of its own language even though the intention is to mimic a universal sound. (That is to say, "bisbigliare" just isn't a verb that would be coined in most other languages).
Guitguit. This one has the bonus of not just being imitative, but reduplicative as well. The reduplication in this word gives the word more of a fun sound than if it were just "guit." It's the name of a bird, so presumably its name is meant to imitate the sound it makes.
Boof. This one actually isn't that unique; there are loads of other words with the same meaning. Woof, bark, you name it, they're all different imitative words for the sounds that dogs make. However, they each have different connotations and create slightly different sounds in your mind, and "boof" always conjures up a noisy and gargantuan dog. It's interesting how much imagery your brain can create based on an individual word and word choice.
There are hundreds of fascinating imitative words in the dictionary in addition to these. What are your favorites?