English Vocabulary


Hello every one!
I’m looking for an English onomatopoeia which could be the equivalent of the French "hic". (E.g. when someone has hiccups.)
Thanks a lot!
P.S. if it's not too much bother, I would like to know if there is a book referring to the different sounds as they are perceived.
Thanks a lot!


  • Following your remark about the hiccups, I asked a British native to get the hiccups so that we could experience the sound. That pure British citizen started coughing with HIC, HIC. I learned so that coughing with HIC, HIC is in fact 'hiccoughing', a word that later in history turned 'hiccuping'. To have an attack of hiccups, that's no fun, hey JC!.

    As French is my mother tongue, I also experienced the hiccups. But as French uses to have "le hoquet", I started emitting HOC, HOC, ...

    What conclusion can be drawn from those experiences?
    It's that 'hoquet' and 'hiccup' are both built on onomatopoeias.

    I don't know if a book listing onomatopoeias has been released so far.
    As you guess, I was playing the cutup by having a hiccup.
  • Joe, I'm impressed that you know exactly your British acquaintance who've helped you out has a 'pure' British lineage. It seems we are safe in assuming that only 'pure' British people are able to produce a proper 'hic(cup)' sound – or if they are slightly more old-fangled, a decent 'hic(cough)'.

    That leads us to the conclusion the following question: What sound would he emit, had he a French grand-grand-grand-father (or mother) amongst his ancestors. A 'hic-hoc' sound (or vice versa) is difficult to produce and very strenuous for the diaphragm.

    When you traced back your lineage many generations back, you would found a mishmash of nationalities. Everbody can imagine how many syllables a simple 'hicc-UP' of yours must consists of – and how many involuntary, jerky UP-ward movements your diaphragm has to perform. And mine. And ours all.

    We are really 'poor' folks.
  • Many thanks to both of you: I’m delighted to see that humour is not dead ! I was probably feverish when I asked this question...
    But please, be indulgent with a poor old retired, all alone in front of his computer yesterday, in that sad rainy Sunday with a heavy cold. Thinking of that, I would have been better inspired in asking "How could I translate 'Atchoum' in English". Wouldn’t I? (Having said that, I had the hiccups as well) It remains an existential question...
  • Since I read Whacky's tip, I couldn't help trying to mix the HIC and the HOC so that I am now so much exhausted by, as he said, the jerky up and down of my midriff. So much exhausted am I, so much out of breath, that I think I have just enough breath left to make it up to my death, provided that I die tonight.

    Yes indeed, I know quite well my British 'tester' who is my lifepartner. Born in England from a British mother, she doesn't know much about her ancestors. Hence I cannot garantee anything about authenticity. [Poor folks indeed, that Limeys!] As she hadn't got a single cold today, I had to use a sneezing powder to make her sneeze. And she made a whacking "ACHOO" [uttered as e'tchu:]. The record of that unguaranteed achoo is at the disposal of Jicé.

    Godspeed, peeps!

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