Onomatopoeia words are used far more in Japanese than in English.
擬音語 (ぎおんご) onomatopoeia (words that describe actual sounds like the sound of a dog ワンワン)
擬態語 (ぎたいご) mimetic word (every other type often describing emotions)
These words can be used in many different ways - some shown below in approximate reverse order of popularity:
- 1. With 'と' as a pseudo-adverb.
夜空に星がきらきらと輝いていた。 Stars were twinkling in the sky.
- 2. As an adverb (e.g. with the 'と' dropped).
夜空に星がきらきら輝いていた。 Stars were twinkling in the sky.
- 3. With 'する' as a 'suru-verb'.
その車はワックスがかけられてピカピカしている。 The car is waxed and shining.
- 4. As a noun (often with の modifying another word)
トムは車をピカピカの新車で買った。 Tom bought a car brand-new.
Historically many of the long established onomatopeia words were taru-adjectives (taru-adjectives generally became to-adverbs in the same way as naru-adjectives generally became na-adjectives).