My daughter took a great children’s music class that also turned out to be instructional for me, since I learned to squeak and zoom in a way I never would have on my own. They even gave us a book that has nothing but noises in it. My daughter will ask to read “Zoom zoom” (Zoom Buggy! written by Claire Clark and illustrated by Jay Jung, helps to have an alliterative name when you are writing about onomatopoeias) and is pretty good at reading it to herself. Add to the joys and trials of parenthood, the need to learn how to make animal, car, and other noises (if you didn’t already know how to). Some parents pride themselves on their noise skills, while some of us proudly watch as our children outstrip us in the noise-making arena. Onomatopoeic sounds seem to be especially crucial and popular among the under three set. In the beginning, they’ll often call animals by the noises they make rather than their actual names (although my daughter definitely said “dog” first, perhaps because dogs make way too many noises in English, see Sandra Boynton’s Doggies, a counting and barking book which goes through a lot of dog noises, yap yap arf arf just to entice you). All this reading of sound words makes me think about their spelling (this can of course be interesting with more grown up sound words too, like “whoo” which has recently received a thorough and fun treatment and is different from “woo,” who knew?). Some of my questions: why would one ever spell yucky the way it is spelled on this Oscar the Grouch book? (Yucchy?!) Should I pronounce it differently? The books seems to be referring to things that are “yucky” so why complicate this word? Is Sesame Street too cool for yucky? Am I not cool enough to know what is going on with the spelling of yucky? You are questioning the tentative definition of “yucky” as onomatopoetic (did I read your mind)? It’s classified as “imitative” by the OED like other onomatopoeias, but I’m open to other suggestions, what do you think? Then there is “neigh.” Because every onomatopoeia should be written with a silent “gh” at the end, right? I look forward to teaching my daughter about English spelling. According to the OED, before the 17th century it was sometimes written “Ne” (a1522 G. Douglas tr. Virgil Aeneid (1960) xi. x. 24 “He sprentis furth, and full provd walxis he, Heich strekand vp his hed with mony a ne.”). This makes sense to me (I am not referring this example in particular but to the older spelling of “neigh”). What happened, modern English? Also, why do onomatopoeias almost always require repetition? Doesn’t matter if they are referring to machine or beast, it’s choo choo, moo moo, vroom vroom, meow meow (or in Italian miao miao, the joys of onomatopoeias in other languages deserves its own post). Who has it out for me, and why? I have more questions, but I will start with these, if you have answers please share.