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Does the ideophone/utterance 'ta-da' (used to announce something) work in most languages, if not all?

asked 2017-11-27 01:01:44 -0500

I am curious to know if this is a universal utterance used to suggest the sound of fanfare; an exclamation of triumph or pride, etc. And if so, what are the most common spellings?

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answered 2017-11-30 04:02:30 -0500

Marina gravatar image

Speaking for languages I know, in Russian, it is used like that indeed, as well as the other form 'ta-dam', but I've never encountered such usage in Korean - they use another one in a similar sense ('짜짠' - 'jjajjan'), while 'ta-da' sounds very much like the Korean verb '타다' - roughly, 'to ride'.

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answered 2017-12-02 11:30:51 -0500

MD gravatar image

If by 'universal' you mean attested in every language, the answer is clearly no, if only because fanfare music is limited to Standard Average European contexts historically, and the 'presentational' signal you refer to is even more limited to military or ceremonial contexts.

If by 'universal' you mean 'found beyond just English' (a wrong use of universal but common enough) the answer is 'kind of': it's also found in, for instance, Dutch (spelled tadaa), which is unsurprising because that is close linguistically, culturally and historically. It is probably found in some more languages as a borrowing reflecting European cultural influence.

If your question is whether, when confronted with this kind of signal, unrelated languages would arrive at the same kind of rendition in speech sounds, the answer is 'possibly', though the resulting words would always be subject to the local phonological system (this is why dogs go wan in Japanese and waf in Dutch).

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Asked: 2017-11-27 01:01:44 -0500

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Last updated: Nov 27