Onomatopoeia is fancy word meaning the sound of the name imitates its definition (or something along those lines –you’d think the word would want to incorporate its own definition.) The words boom or bang are explosive examples. But as we know from a previous discussion even animals speak differently in Swedish and English.
Which brings us to the sound a bicycle bell would make. I’d say ding, the Swedish husband would say pling. In truth it’s rather unimportant since thanks to onomatopoeia (hearing the desired sound regardless) even if you had to yell it out (say you don’t have a bell on your bike) the message would get through.
Or would it? What in fact is the message?
Here’s another cultural clash…well, designed ultimately to avoid a clash or a crash ( that’s onomatopoetic, isn’t it?) For me, the use of a ding is to get people out of the way the same way you’d beep (onomatopoeia at work again) your car’s horn.
But Swedes will also pling to give a courteous warning that they’re passing you on their bikes. I guess it’s to avoid startling you as they wiz quietly by on silent un-motorized wheels. Accordingly, it seems the Swedish pedestrian is expecting that pling.
I rarely polite pling. I just can’t get the outtamyway honk sound out of my ears. Instead, I try to kindly give a wide berth or slow down while passing and that ought to serve the same purpose.
And so now I’m back at odds with my dilemma: To ding or not to ding. Or perhaps I should be struggling over whether or not to pling.
So. Do you pling or ding? And what is your message?