Sunday Soundcheck 35


Here we are at the end of another column. Do should not be pronounced like the English word ‘do’, for example, ‘Do you love me?’; rather, it should be like the English word ‘doe’, as in, “Doe, a deer, a female deer. Ray, a drop of golden sun…” We write do in hiragana as ど and in katakana as ド.

Dosoku (どそく・土足) could best be translated as ‘street shoes’. We remove our shoes when entering most Japanese homes and put on some kind of slippers. At schools the kids take off their shoes and put on their indoor shoes. Because the indoor footwear is not always slippers a word is needed to specify outdoor wear. Also, some camping areas have raised platforms for eating, which are technically outside, but treated with indoor ettiquette, so there are usually signs (土足禁止) telling us ‘street shoes are prohibited’ or ‘please take off street shoes’ (土足を脱いで下さい). A good rule of thumb for outside pavilions is: if they are raised and have a roof, shoes are probably forbidden.

Donmai (ドンマイ) is our katakana word for the day. It is just the English phrase, “Don’t mind!”. As far as usage it is similar to, “Never mind.”

Many sounds (擬態語) are written out in katakana as I mentioned back in Soundcheck 7. Several of those start with do, so let’s take a look.

Dobun or dobon (ドブン・ドボン) are the sound of something heavy splashing into the water, or a missed dive.

Dosun (ドスン) is the sound of something heavy falling, or a missed dive.

Doon (ドーン) is the sound of something striking something forcefully: two heads cracking together, a truck hitting a wall, etc. This seems to be for a crash against something solid and ungiving.

Dokan (ドカン) is the sound of a crash: thunderclap, truck hitting a house, etc. I think the feeling is some explosive occurring.

Dondon (ドンドン) is a banging, drumming, hammering, pounding sound.

My last one is in hiragana because it is more a feeling than a sound. Dokidoki (どきどき) is the feeling of heart beating, fluttering, pounding, thumping, etc. We can use it after being scared, or when we are nervous, or very excited. Confusion sometimes accompanies usage of this word: is he scared? is he in love?…


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