Why Do the Japanese Sound So Cute When They're Talking?

Why Do the Japanese Sound So Cute When They're Talking?

  • Certain languages have been known around the world to have stereotypes in terms of intonation, words, and even the accompanying non-verbal language.
    For example, the German language is seen as gruff and has strong nuances with many “ach” growling sounds.
    The French language has been called unintelligible and likened to talking while having one’s mouth stuffed full and contorted with stretched out “ee”s and no h’s.
    Australians have all sorts of funky expressions that are seemingly senseless to others, while the Chinese language has been compared to banging pots and pans with exaggerated tones and expressions.

  • Now, what about the Japanese?
    While most Japanese are polite and soft-spoken (the exception being when they are drunk), the linguistic aspect of a word itself plays a part too in setting the tone and how it is enunciated.
    For example, the Italian phrases “Delicioso!” or “Mamma mia!” inevitably embody an upbeat, boisterous, lively tone that represents a part of Italian culture.
    And in the Japanese language, adjectives are often onomatopoeias that describe the sound made by particular actions.

    Some of them may not make sense to foreigners, but then again, think of how many ways there are to say hi, or how differently a dog’s bark is expressed in each language.
    As such, the repetition of two identical words to make a sound results in Japanese phrases injected with extreme cuteness that are oftentimes accompanied by equally cute body language (think duck face, peace signs, a bounce in a step, and the like)!
    These phrases are not gender specific, though you may well assume that the female gender does seem to reflect a more kawaii demeanor.

  • 1. Goro goro

    A rumbling sound that may be used for thunder, stomachs, or cats.
    It may also mean to spend the day idly or lazing around.

  • 2. Fuwa fuwa

    Commonly used to describe bread, marshmallows, or soft fluffy food in general (the Japanese love this texture).

  • 3. Pocchari

    Used on someone who is adorably chubby or plump!

  • 4. Peko peko

    The sound made when you’re hungry.
    “My tummy is peko peko!”
    It could also mean to bow, kowtow (kneeling and bowing low to show respect), or obey.

  • 5. Icha icha

    Used to describe flirty, mushy, touchy-feely, or lovey-dovey behavior.

  • 6. Giri giri

    Used when you want to express that you did something just in time or at the last moment.
    Similar to the American phrase “in the nick of time.”

  • 7. Saku saku

    Used to describe objects that are crisp or crunchy such as pie crusts, snow, etc.

  • 8. Mochi mochi

    Usually used to describe a food texture that is soft and chewy, just like the mochi glutinous rice cake!

  • 9. Mogu mogu

    The sound made when munching or chomping, much like “omnomnom.”

  • 10. Puchi puchi

    Used to describe objects that are springy or lumpy.
    May also translate to the sound of bubbles being popped which led to the homonymous moniker for bubble wrap.

  • There are plenty more but that’s it for now.
    It’s time to get imaginative with the accompanying gestures!
    Do any cute phrases in your language come to mind?