Periodic sounds in Talmit


English onomatopoeia involves reduplicated words for periodic sounds which go from high to low amplitude harmonically, or which are steadily repeated. These are words like chit(ter)-chat(ter), pitter-patter, jingle-jangle, tick-tock, ding-dong, click-clack, plinky-plonky. It is apparent that English uses a vowel ablaut to indicate periodicity: The high front vowel /i/ seems to indicate high frequency or low amplitude; the back (low) vowel /o/ (/a/) low frequency or high amplitude (this is my interpretation anyway). The consonants encode the nature of the sound. In particular, stops like /k/ and /t/ stand for instantenious bursts which pop up and decay suddenly; while continuants like /l/ and /ŋ/ stand for resonating sounds which decay slowly.

Talmit does things in a similar fashion. The periodicity of a sound is encoded by an alternation of front /i/ and back /u/ in the diphthongs ui [ui̯] and its reverse ɩu [ɨu̯] (the latter replaced by ɩi [ɨi̯] by some speakers). The nature of the sound is encoded by two consonant clusters (which can be identical and/or single consonants). The adverbial suffix -ru is added twice.
However, some of these words may acquire an additional, abstract meaning by metaphorical extension (often a source of innuendo).

root full adverb literal meaning figurative meaning


dúiru-ndίuru sound of a hammer forging iron doing something with force and determination


ϕúiru-sϕίuru sound of wind or heavy breathing being tired doing something


grúiru-gnίuru gnarling, sound of an empty stomach doing something with envy or a hidden grudge


kúiru-skίuru gentle cracking sound of burning wood  


knúiru-knίuru sound of squeaking wood (floorboards, ships, ...) doing something halfheartedly or despite reservations


mnúiru-mnίuru sound of bells, jingling of metal doing (achieving) something with lots of fame and glory


púiru-pίuru sound of steam coming from a cooking pot, or of steady breathing doing something in high spirits


psúiru-ptίuru the sound of a soft pulp (clay, dough) hitting a flat surface doing something badly, in a slapdash way


súiru-hίuru sound of a plane polishing wood doing something diligently and efficiently


túiru-tίuru sound of tapping or knocking  


θlúiru-θwίuru sound of champing doing something with great obvious pleasure


zúiru-znίuru humming, sound of a bee