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A new word has entered the English vocabulary: "ch'ching"; (pronounced "ch'", not "cha-") meaning change, coin, a relatively small amount of money; "The new chicken nuggets are only $1.99 for 8 pieces, small ch-ching."

This word has been around for a while, but these days, according to the OED a word has entered the vocabulary when it first appears in print (@ February 8, 2001). It is to be heard now in a KFC TV ad. I mention the entry of this new word because it has come to be in the way I have suggested our language originally developed; in the manner of what is called onomatopoeia sound-symbolism: it sounds like what it is intended to mean. Here, the ch-ching of a manually operated cash register. As such it can be understood across most language and culture boundries (although in this case, it is bound to our time ... this sound was not heard before cash-registers; and now with electric cash-registers, it will not be heard for much longer.


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