Japanese Onomatope
An insight into the world of Japanese sound words – The development of an illustration-based dictionary

Japanese Onomatope

A content and creative look on the subject of sound words, especially in the Japanese language. The work comprises a total of three sections.

To begin with, I examine sound words, their formation, and their potential for communication. The focus lies on investigation of the representation in comics and in advertising. In the second part I show the peculiarities of the Japanese language and compare it with the German language. The final part is a picture-based dictionary that aims to bring Japanese culture a step closer to all language enthusiasts and convey an interesting aspect of the language in a humorous way. The work is aimed at Japanese language learners, language enthusiasts and all those who want to learn more about the effect of language in communication.

The result is a bound work in DIN A4, 156 pages in a cardboard slipcase. In addition, within the scope of the bachelor thesis, my portfolio is included in the same format.

I developed interest in this topic during my internship in japan, while visiting a language school and talking to friends. I was trying to figure out ways, how design can help to improve the process of understanding and learning a language.

Sample pictures of the book

Contains a completely illustrated theory about the phenomenon sound words…

…many infographics about the psychological effect of sound symbolism…

…interviews with native speakers…

…and an illustrated dictionary about japanese onomatope.

More images in the gallery

Process of building the slipcase

First softcover prototype

The pagemarks indicate the categories for a faster navigation

For an in depth documentation with added explanations in german, you can visit the the following link, that leads to the intranet of the university I graduated from: Incom Link.