What Do Animals Say in Your Language?

This random topic came up the other day.

I’m not sure why I thought of it, but I remembered from my days in Japan that onomatopoeia varies for different languages. There’s a ton of it in Japanese–like, the word for the sound that rain makes, the wind blowing, etc.

My favorites were the animal sounds, because it’s not like animals speak different languages. Cats in Japan meow just like cats in the US, and dogs woof just like here too.

But in Japan, the onomatopoeia for a cat’s meow is “nyaa nyaa.” I can kind of see that–Biddy and Walter have made sounds similar to nyaa. Meanwhile, dogs in Japanese say “wan wan.” I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a dog make that sound.

Looking at this list, I remembered one other favorite–I actually think the Japanese version is better than the English version. In Japanese, rooster’s don’t say “cock-a-doodle-doo”. Instead, they say “kokekokko!” I love that word.

What do cats, dogs, and roosters say in your language? I’m particularly curious about other versions of English, like UK, Australia, and South Africa (or are all English animal sounds the same no matter the region)?


7 Responses to “What Do Animals Say in Your Language?”

  1. iainsimmons says:

    My wife is German, so I’m quite familiar with this and the crazy differences. Apparently roosters go ‘kikeriki’ in German. 🙂

    Confusingly, apparently frogs don’t ribbit, they go ‘quaak, quaak’. Not to be confused with the sounds that ducks make… which would be more or less the same as in English, ‘quack, quack’ or ‘quak, quak’.

  2. I met a man from Hati who said that cats say “Noooo” and my mother who is from upstate NY likes to say that our cats often say “Meout”, but I think she made that one up.

    • The most memorable animal sound translation for me is the song of the red eyed vireo, as revealed to me by my college ornithology professor, Bessie Boyd (!).
      If I see you
      I will seize you
      And I’ll squeeze you
      ‘Til you squirt!

  3. Ulf Persson says:

    Guess what language (answer at the end)
    * crow – krax
    * rooster – kuckeliku
    * mouse – pip
    * cat – mjau
    * horse – gnägg
    * pig – nöff
    * sheep – bä
    * cow – mu
    * dog – vov
    * frog – koack

    That’s what the animals say in Swedish

  4. Brent Keath says:

    I’m from the U.S. so my animal sounds arrive the same as yours. But when my wife and I went to Ecuador we found out that their animals make many different sounds. The quick summary of can be found by watching El Pollito Pio (a funny video about Spanish animal sounds that the kids there watched and sang somewhat often, to their parents dismay): https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dhsy6epaJGs

  5. Charles Dionne says:

    Our french roosters say “cocorico”.
    Cats – miaou
    Dogs – Wouf
    Cows – Meu
    Sheep – Bêê

  6. RodeoClown says:

    Sorry to say that in Australia all the animals make exactly the noise you’d expect…

Leave a Reply