Mimetic words in Vietnamese

Mimetic words in Vietnamese

Hello everyone! Today, Tiengviet24h will introduce to you: Mimetic words in Vietnamese. Let’s start!

Mimetic words in Vietnamese


Mimetic words are words that describe shapes, sizes and conditions of things and people.

Example: be bé (smallish), cao cao (little tall), móm mém (completely toothless), rón rén (stealthy),…


  • Mimetic words increases the expressiveness of a language. With mimetic words, things and people are described more vividly.
  • With mimetic words, things and people are described in more detail. In descriptive writing, mimetic words help things appear naturally in many nuances.
  • Mimetic words are often used in descriptive writing and autobiographical writing.
  • Most of mimetic words are reduplicative words. They are widely used in Vietnamese poetry. Mimetic words make a poem rich in imagery.
  • Therefore, it can be affirmed that mimetic words create the unique and artistic value for Vietnamese literary works or for casual speech.
  • Note: You should not use mimetic words too much, because they might affect the content of literary works and make the literary style of writers abstract. Therefore, it’s important to learn the meaning of each mimetic word carefully before using them.

Example: xanh ngắt (deep blue) –> Tầng mây lơ lửng trời xanh ngắt

When “xanh ngắt'” is put in the verse, it describes a clear blue sky. When using “xanh ngắt”, the sky becomes wide and clear, evoking the image of the sky in autumn.  

How to use and find mimetic words in a sentence 

In order to find mimetic words in a sentence, you should pay attention to reduplicative words. If those reduplicative words describe shapes of things and people, they are mimetic words.

It’s very simple to make a sentence with mimetic words:

Example 1: Mimetic words about human action are verbs such as: chạy thoăn thoắt (to run quickly), ăn lia lịa (to eat quickly), nói chuyện rôm rả (to talk noisily),…

Mimetic words about the gait of a person: lon ton (to scurry), rón rén (stealthy), thoăn thoắt (tripping), lừ đừ (languid), thong thả (unhurried), ục ịch (heavy)…

  • Bé Lan được mua đồ chơi mới nên lon ton chạy khắp xóm khoe với bạn bè (Lan has a new toy, so she ran around to show off it to her friends).
  • Buổi trưa, cu Tý rón rén trốn mẹ đi chơi (At noon, Ty crept away from his mother to go out).

Example 2: Mimetic words about the form of human body: nho nhỏ (smallish), cao cao (little tall), móm mém (completely toothless),…

  • Dáng người bạn Lan nho nhỏ (Lan has a small body).
  • Bà ngoại em có cái miệng móm mém (My grandmother is completely toothless).

Example 3: Mimetic words about the condition of things: xanh xanh (greenish), xam xám (greyish), âm u (gloomy),…

  • Bầu trời hôm nay âm u quá! (The sky is gloomy today!)
  • Hàng cây trường em xanh xanh (The trees in my school are greenish).

Above is: Mimetic words in Vietnamese. See other similar posts in category: Vietnamese grammar

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