Japanese laughing onomatopoeia 擬声語(gi-sei-go)
Even if they are similar events, different quantities or qualities produce different sounds. As another example, let’s take a laughing onomatopoeia 擬声語 (gi-sei-go) sound.
When a man laughs uninhibitedly, it’s a loud laugh: ゲラゲラ(ge-ra-ge-ra)
Women could laugh this way, but in Japan where male chauvinism is still rampant, they may be frowned upon by both men and women. Also, this sound should not be confused with the sound of someone vomiting: ゲロゲロ (ge-ro-ge-ro).
A young woman laughing ケラケラ (ke-ra-ke-ra) is a sign that she’s having a lot of fun talking with you.
But do not mix this up with a similar sound ケロケロ(ke-ro-ke-ro), because if she laughs like that, she is in fact a frog in disguise, not human!
A little girl chuckles silently クスクス(ku-su-ku-su), that’s cute.
A young man laughing ヘラヘラ (he-ra-he-ra) is not very agreeable. Depending on the situation, it’s a bit unnerving. He could be also slightly drunk.
It’s even worse if someone is laughing エヘラエヘラ (e-he-ra-e-he-ra). If this is your teenage son, you should smack his head. He needs to be more serious, show more respect!
It’s a big hit if someone laughs ヒーヒー (hih-hih) at your joke with tears coming out from his eyes. It’s so funny he can barely breathe!
If you are smiling ニコニコ (ni-ko-ni-ko) all the time, it’s impossible for anyone to hate you. Such a smile is highly infectious. The best kind of smile!
If my friend is grinning ニヤニヤ (ni-ya-ni-ya), I might feel a bit uncomfortable, because he may be secretively laughing at something about me. But then again, he may be just remembering a fond memory from his last date.
ニタニタ (ni-ta-ni-ta) is a rather obscene way of grinning. Certainly gentlemen will not smile ニタニタ (ni-ta-ni-ta) in front of ladies.
Now, in the last three smiles ニコニコ (ni-ko-ni-ko), ニヤニヤ (ni-ya-ni-ya) and ニタニタ (ni-ta-ni-ta), these people are not really making any sound as they smile in these ways. They are all silent smiles. But Japanese can hear them! As I write below, Japanese have developed highly sensitive ears so that they can hear the would-be sound from almost anything! Namely, Japanese language answers what kind of sound they would make if they could!