Monday, July 05, 2010

Thwip, Thwap, Thwop, or Thwup?

Let's say you need to describe the sound helicopter blades make while sweeping through the air. Would you say:








I've been rotating through all four versions throughout the day, saying them aloud, feeling embarrassed, and making myself dizzy trying to figure this out. And I do need to settle on something.

To give you a little more detail, the helicopter would be about the same size as the one below, and also carrying something.

And if you have a totally different and better way to spell the chopper noise, let's hear it!


Kat Heckenbach said...

Definitely not "thwip" or "thwop."

Maybe "thwap"--but that seems to me more of a hitting type sound--like a book landing on a tabletop.

I lean most towards "thwup."

Jenny said...

Ha, that's funny because I was thinking "thwap thwap"

The Book Owl said...

I would definitely say thwip or thwup. Thwip if it was going fast (normal pace) or thwup if it was slowing down to land.

Sara Bell said...

Thwap makes me think of a wet towel hitting the floor. I agree with the person above me, it depends on how fast said helicopter is traveling and thwip or thwup.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Good point, Book Owl, about the fast or slow. If the blades are going fast, I'd probably run them all together and even cut out the vowels:


The sounding out (even in your head) of a vowel slows it down, as do the dashes. That's why I'd said originally not thwip or thwop--they seem more clunky to pronounce. With "thwup" the short "u" blends in because it's the weakest of the vowels in this case.

Claire Dawn said...

I think "thwup" if they were moving slowly (landing or taking off) and "thwip" in regular flight! :)

Sage Ravenwood said...

I always think of helicopter blades chopping air. So thwop worked for me. Then again (going from memory before my deafness). I've always thought it was more of a whup, whup, whup sound...(Hugs)Indigo

Jay Asher said...

When I write it down, thwup seems to look and sound better. But whup is growing on me.

Thanks for not making me feel like a dork with this question!

Joan said...

Thwup for me. Want me to ask my son-in-law who worked for Bell Helicopter?

William Keats said...

The latter. Trust me on this- I know choppers.

Margo Rowder said...

I was thinking "thwup," too.

BTW, Jay, I've just finished Clay's tape in Thirteen Reasons Why. I can see why Hannah liked him so much. Such familiar characters in a familiar, tragic misunderstanding. Perfect, perfect inspiration as I revise my MS for emotion today. Thankyouthankyouthankyou for this book.

RL said...

Are you in the helicopter, on the ground below, or a diagonal distance away? Inside it's more a feeling than a sound (like being right next to speakers at a rock concert) with thwpthwpthwp, like Kat said. Directly above you, you get kind of ThwipThwop because you seem to pick up the wind and engine noise as well as the blades. If it's above you but high up it's more a thwop or meatier thwap depending on the type. diagonal seems a thwup, more a rhythm than distinct sound.

Unknown said...

...and over SIX YEARS later, I finally know why you needed this :D