Hey, who feels like doing something mildly stupid, but audible enough so people around you can wonder what the hell is going on with you? You, that’s who? We’re going to conduct a little experiment here: I’m going to write out some things you can say with the people-mouth stuck above your chin that sound like engine noises, and you’re going to tell me what kind of engine it sounds like! This’ll be fun, trust me.

Now, I’ll be up front—I don’t necessarily have right or wrong answers to these; I’m more curious to see if there’s any patterns that emerge from the responses.

I’ll make a numbered list of engine sounds, and if you want to match it to an engine type in the comments, we can do it like this: put the number of the sound, then this two-alphanumeric code for engine type, which I’ll list here now:

I3, I4, I5, I6, I8, etc: inline [number of cylinders]
V4, V6, V8: duh, you know
W8,W16, etc: W engines [number of cylinders]
F2, F4, F6: flat-[number of cylinders]
RD: radial engine [any number of cylinders]
RT: rotary engine
T2, T3, etc: two-stroke [number of cylinders]
HB: Some hybrid thing
TB: Turbine engines
ST: Steam engines
EL: Electric motor

That’s most of them, right? Good enough. And now, the sounds, which you should try making with your mouth, just like I am as I type these:

1. Mudda-mudda-mudda-mudda
2. Fip-fip-fip-fip
3. Pitchipo-pitchipa-pitchipo-pitchipa
4. Ffffip-bu-fffip-pu-fffip-bu
5. Whittabidda-whittabidda-whittabidda
6. Jebbjebbjebbjebbjebbjebb
7. BrRUUUb-b-b-b-RUUU-b-b-b-b-RUUU-b-b-b-b
8. Vimmmp-vimmmp-vimmmp-vimmmp
9. Po-tik-a-pi-too-po-tik-a-pi-too-po-tik-a-pi-too
10. Domph-domph-domph-domph
11. Zepzepzepzepzepzep
12. Tip-top-tip-top-tippa-tippa-top-tip

There. Give those dozen engine sounds a try, and tell me what you think they are. I’m really excited to see if the sounds I’m making are making me imagine anything close to what the sounds you’re making are making you imagine.


Bonus points to anyone who puts up links to audio files of themselves making the sounds!