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Thread: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

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    'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Have you also noticed already that some 'noise words' seem opaque and/but sound very special ?

    'Hullaballoo' is one in English (hallo + Scottish lullaby ?),
    'Radau' in German,
    'Lawaai' in Dutch ( [lɑ'wa.ɪ]), just noise

    I think these are synonyms:
    - 'fuss' in English
    - 'Klimbim' (with a short English /ee/) in German )

    Some others:
    'Hubbub' in English (a multitude of speakers)
    'Tumult' in E, G, Dutch, I think...

    All of these seem to have some funny or unusual sound, I think, sounding un-English, un-German perhaps, or at least we do not recognize a common word in it. (I think that is true of other negative words (like dubbing names) as well, but let's focus on the noise words, and words referring to talking and making noise, but without any useful purpose (or so it seems).
    If you have an explanation for the phenomenon or an etymological explanation that is fine, but not the main thing: it must be somewhat strange and have some special or pleasant sound in your language...

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasK View Post
    Have you also noticed already that some 'noise words' seem opaque and/but sound very special ?
    Finnish: häly, melu, hälinä, metakka, elämöinti, pälinä, äläkkä, älämölö (I like this one! Try it: ['æ.læˌmø.lø])

    The last four ones sound very strange, indeed. Only few of them contain recognizable words: häly, melu = noise, elämä = life, pälättää = to prattle.

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    If I got your question correctly, the word in Hebrew is טררם (tararam). According to my dictionary, it's an onomatopoeia of Yiddish origin.

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Indeed, that is a perfect word, Amikana! And as for Finnish: it begins to sound like an Indian firedance scream indeed ! ;-)

    Just one more thing, S : I am just wondering about häly, melu, elämä, pälättää... Are they used in other contexts too ? Our lawaai reminds me of 'waaien' , the blowing of the wind, but they la- can hardly be considered a separate word in Dutch. So there is something strange about it. So: are they quite common, used as the basis of other derivations ?

    'Elämä', life, reminds me of the word 'leven' in my dialect: 'leven maken' with us is simply to make noise !!! That sounds strange, although 'alive and kicking' = 'alive and making noise' ? This might be like a philosophical argument, but OK, I just mention it.
    Last edited by ThomasK; 25th December 2009 at 11:11 AM.

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Well, tumult does not sounds that weird to me (at least, I don't think it's worst than "catapult" and such, pronounciation-wise)

    in French: Ramdam /ʁam.dam/
    I always thought it was an onomatopea for a kind of drum-roll (a bit like the Hebrew word tararam I guess), but according to wiktionary it comes from Arab 'Ramadan', because the evenings/nights of that month were rather noisy.
    Murmure (murmur) sounds a bit weird too, I think that one is really an onomatopea turned into a word.
    I almost forgot tohu-bohu, that one really sounds strange, (and once again, according to wiktionary, it seems to come from the name given to the "original chaos" in the Hebrew bible)

    A word I found funny in English is squeak, to me that's just the sound of a squeaking

    (And happy end of year celebrations everyone)
    Last edited by enoo; 25th December 2009 at 12:16 PM. Reason: added tohu-bohu

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Interesting issue: is a word somehow weird ? I thought of this: there is no link with any other Latin word we (well, I) know... But it might be interesting to challenge one another on the degree of 'weirdness' of a word. (Is any word not weird ? But that is a question at the Cultural issues forums... ;-)

    Squeak is funny indeed, but it is a descriptive word to me, with not too much of a negative connotation (except for people who do not like high pitches ?).

    I am wondering: can one say 'I make [elämä, ramdam, a hullaballoo, lawaai, ...]? For the latter the answer is yes. Also for the others ?

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasK View Post
    Just one more thing, S : I am just wondering about häly, melu, elämä, pälättää... Are they used in other contexts too ? Our lawaai reminds me of 'waaien' , the blowing of the wind, but they la- can hardly be considered a separate word in Dutch. So there is something strange about it. So: are they quite common, used as the basis of other derivations?
    Häly is actually a term for an "impure", non-pitched sound, but it can refer to any unpleasant (single) sound you hear. As a derived word, hälytin is "a device that makes noise", ie. an alarm.

    Melu is... well... noise. Something that fills the space where you are and makes you want to escape from it.

    Elämä means "life" and is surely used in other contexts. "Pälättää" doesn't mean anything else than prattling. The stem pälä- may be onomatopoietic, but I think it doesn't belong to good standard language.

    EDIT: #6, those kinds of structures are rarely used in Finnish, but the one-word-sentence "Elämöin" means just that. However, I would prefer "hälisen", "mölisen", "meluan" or "pälisen", because these are less literal.
    Last edited by sakvaka; 25th December 2009 at 12:20 PM.

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasK View Post
    Interesting issue: is a word somehow weird ? I thought of this: there is no link with any other Latin word we (well, I) know...
    Well, actually I just tried to say that this word doesn't seem weird to me, most probably because of its Latin origin, but that it may indeed sound weird to people whose mother tongue is not a romance language.
    (My original sentence was far from being clear, sorry.)

    Squeak is funny indeed, but it is a descriptive word to me, with not too much of a negative connotation (except for people who do not like high pitches ?).
    Well, you basicaly said "weird sounding noise words", but didn't specifically ask for a negative connotation

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    I see what you mean, Enoo, but 'noise' is not very positive in itself, is it ? ;-)

    I understand your point of view with regard to 'tumult', but I mainly meant: no words are formed starting from tumult-, whereas none of the words containing posit-, scop-, peri-, para-, etc. (common latin words) would be considered weird, or special to me. You see my point of view ?

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Quote Originally Posted by sakvaka View Post
    Häly is actually a term for an "impure", non-pitched sound, but it can refer to any unpleasant (single) sound you hear. As a derived word, hälytin is "a device that makes noise", ie. an alarm.

    Melu is... well... noise. Something that fills the space where you are and makes you want to escape from it.

    Elämä means "life" and is surely used in other contexts. "Pälättää" doesn't mean anything else than prattling. The stem pälä- may be onomatopoietic, but I think it doesn't belong to good standard language.

    EDIT: #6, those kinds of structures are rarely used in Finnish, but the one-word-sentence "Elämöin" means just that. However, I would prefer "hälisen", "mölisen", "meluan" or "pälisen", because these are less literal.
    Interesting nuances ! I can guess what you mean by 'häly', would not be able to give any equivalent in Dutch or English (if you could find one, please tell me). Can it be long or short? I just had a look at synonyms of our noise-word and cannot find any of the kind. The sound of an alarm clock is not pleasant here either, but it is just... alarm or bell of the wekker ('waker').

    'Melu' : would that not be 'sound' rather? I would only say I am noisy after a 'heavy' Xmas party with too much booze (I am not an alcoholic !).

    Pälättää: isn't that something like chattering ('kletsen' in Dutch) ? I would not call that a pleasant sound, but that is mainly due to the contents. Or ... ?

    Could you specify the contexts where you can use those 'phrases' ?

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    By looking up synonyms of noise, i bumped into some others. Again fairly strange, in that I do not see a link with the Dutch/ Greek/ Latin (other) words I know: heibel (no root we are familiar with), herrie, trammelant. The point is: we cannot see a direct relationship with any of the words we know, I think.

    Special case: rumoer [ry:'mu:r]. The link with rumour is clear, but with us it is only noise, not some kind of fake message. We do not have the oer-suffix, nor rum-words. The sound is not Latin either, I would say: oer would turn into or, I think. There I'll mention it here, but it seems an isolated case...
    Last edited by ThomasK; 26th December 2009 at 12:42 PM. Reason: Correction...

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasK View Post
    Interesting nuances ! I can guess what you mean by 'häly', would not be able to give any equivalent in Dutch or English (if you could find one, please tell me). Can it be long or short? I just had a look at synonyms of our noise-word and cannot find any of the kind. The sound of an alarm clock is not pleasant here either, but it is just... alarm or bell of the wekker ('waker').
    As a purely musical term (which it is almost always used as) häly is a non-pitched sound, say, the one you hear when a book drops onto the floor. That's no specific note (sävel) you could play on the piano.

    Häly can be both long or short. I was thinking about the sound of a fire alarm or an ambulance/fire engine (= "alarming vehicles") driving by, because häly is a part of both these words. It is just a stem that people associate with unpleasant sounds.

    In many of the uses of häly- the concept of paying attention seems to be present (but not always!) and I believe you'd be interested in this association. When there's a group of people hälisemässä somewhere, you may immediately want to go and see what's going on. When the group meluaa, they are most likely youngsters rioting and you want to go as far from them as you can.

    'Melu' : would that not be 'sound' rather? I would only say I am noisy after a 'heavy' Xmas party with too much booze (I am not an alcoholic !).
    When you walk in a busy city, it is a meluisa environment. The opposite example would be a peaceful countryside, something very quiet. Melu is a sound, too, and I believe you would've also been making a lot of melu after the Christmas (which of course you didn't!).

    Pälättää: isn't that something like chattering ('kletsen' in Dutch) ? I would not call that a pleasant sound, but that is mainly due to the contents. Or ... ?
    Just that, but in a more agitated way. Imagine all those hyperactive TV hostesses! Actually, päl(p)ättää is a descriptive word and thightly connected to the word "to talk": puhua pälättää (to talk like a TV hostess). It has just become independent.

    Could you specify the contexts where you can use those 'phrases' ?
    Do you mean the phrases "elämöin", "mölisen" etc.? You rarely want to make noise intentionally, so example contexts may feel a bit artificial (UFO:s are torturing me, I'm shooting a movie, I'm drunk...).

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Good morning, Finland. Impressive comments !
    Now, indeed, I don't think we could translate the häly/melu opposition in two verbs, neither in Dutch, nor in English. And somehow I think it is even not perfectly clear therefore what the precise meaning is (sorry !): I checked at Wikipedia and there it is simply translated at noise. I have also been wondering whether there are noises that attract me, for their noise only: your häly attracts people, but why? Would you have an easy clue to solve this ?

    But then: are your Finnish UFO so noisy? We don't see or hear them here !;-)

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasK View Post
    Good morning, Finland. Impressive comments !
    Now, indeed, I don't think we could translate the häly/melu opposition in two verbs, neither in Dutch, nor in English. And somehow I think it is even not perfectly clear therefore what the precise meaning is (sorry !): I checked at Wikipedia and there it is simply translated at noise. I have also been wondering whether there are noises that attract me, for their noise only: your häly attracts people, but why? Would you have an easy clue to solve this ?

    But then: are your Finnish UFO so noisy? We don't see or hear them here !;-)
    I think melu is always something frightening and distressing (UFO's) whereas häly is a lively sound, presented in shopping malls, Finnish classrooms and market places. Some people may feel it's negative and they indeed call it melu.

    I have never seen an UFO, but if I were kidnapped by one, it'd surely be I that would make a lot of melu. ;-)

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Hullabaloo - a din , a racket (in French we say 'tintamarre, bocson)

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    In Greek:
    -Σάλος ('salos, m.), from the ancient «Σάλος» ('salŏs, m.), which described the tossing motion of an earthquake
    -Αντάρα (an'dara, f.), from the ancient verb «ἀναταράσσω» (anata'rassō-->to rouse to frenzy, stir up) which in Byzantine times became «άνταράσσω» (anda'raso) and gave the feminine noun αντάρα
    -Χαμός (xa'mos, m.), from the Hellenistic verb «χαῶ» (xa'ō-->to create chaos) which gave the Byzantine verb «χάνω» ('xano-->to lose), which gave ultimately the noun «χαμός»; colloquially «χαμός» is the most common word used to describe the chaotic sound one hears when lots of people are gathered somewhere talking and making noise, but without any useful purpose

    [x] is a voiceless velar fricative, known as the hard ch

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Quote Originally Posted by enoo View Post
    Well, tumult does not sounds that weird to me (at least, I don't think it's worst than "catapult" and such, pronounciation-wise)

    in French: Ramdam /ʁam.dam/
    Murmure (murmur) sounds a bit weird too, I think that one is really an onomatopea turned into a word.
    I almost forgot tohu-bohu, that one really sounds strange, ..
    I encountered some others in French: brouhaha, wacharme... The funny thing is that the latter appears to have been copied from Dutch...

    Suddenly I also thought those were chaotic words, in the sense that they are "beyond [rational] control [i.c. analysis]"...

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    In French I've never heard of 'wacharme,' though perhaps in the North of France they might say it there. Here are some more words that mean a lot of noise and confusion - raffut, boucan, ramdam (as given above), barouf, tintouin, charivari, vacarme, chambard, tapage.....

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    As for the etymology of hullabaloo or hullaballoo, it may be a doubling of 'hello', there is hullabol in Indian English, but this isn't thought to have been the origin.
    www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=hullabaloo

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    Re: 'Hullaballoo' and other noises

    Quote Originally Posted by franc 91 View Post
    In French I've never heard of 'wacharme,' though perhaps in the North of France they might say it there. Here are some more words that mean a lot of noise and confusion - raffut, boucan, ramdam (as given above), barouf, tintouin, charivari, vacarme, chambard, tapage.....
    As for wacharme: I might have misspelled it, due to the fact that I found out the basis was Dutch. However: vacarme is what I meant.The ones that fit in best as for their 'un-understandability' might be charivari, tintouin, but they're all fine of course!

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