anibee's Guide to Nifty Japanese Words 101! (Vol. 5)

Diving into repetitive words!

The Japanese language has a load of fun, interesting, and often downright amusing ways to express yourself and things around you. But perhaps one of the most fun ways to do this is with repetitive words!

Repetitive words are very prevalent in Japanese, and are also surprisingly versatile. The most common ones are onomatopoeia, used to describe sounds:

さくさく (saku saku) - to describe a crunching sound

がたがた (gata gata) - to describe a rattling sound

くすくす (kusu kusu) - to describe a chuckle or giggle

Repetitive words in Japanese however, can also be used to describe the properties of objects:

ふわふわ (fuwa fuwa) - Warm/fuzzy

ビショビショ (bisyo bisyo) - wet/soaked

ピカピカ (pika pika) - shiny/glittering

Further adding to their uses, repetitive words can additionally be used as expressions:

やれやれ (yare yare) - "Oh well/Oh brother!" (a general expression of relief or disappointment)

ぎりぎり(giri giri) - an expression to describe a close or tight situation

もたもた (mota mota) - an expression to describe when someone/something is slow & pondering

There are all sorts of repetitive words that are frequently used in the Japanese language - what others can you find?

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