In the land of animals

New Delhi: We all know that a pig says “oink” and a cow says “moo,” right? Well, that’s true if you live in North America and you speak English.

But what if you are in other countries? Do animals say different things?

It turns out, animal sounds are very different depending on the language and the country.

For instance, while in English we would say that cats go “meow,” in Japanese they go “nyan.” And while in English a chicken goes “cluck cluck,” in German it goes “tok tok” and in Italian it goes “coccodé” and in Spanish it goes “caca-raca.”

Can animals speak more than one language? Of course not. But these are the ways that people who speak other languages interpret the same animal sounds and write them down.

Derek Abbott is a researcher working at the University of Adelaide in Australia. He has come up with what he says is the world’s biggest multilingual (more than one language) list of animal sounds.

Here are some more:


English: quack quack |French: coin coin |Greek: pa-pa-pa


English: neigh |Japanese: hi-hiin |Russian: i-go-go


English: gobble gobble |French and Greek: glou glou |Turkish: glu glu


English: snap |Italian: gnam


English: buzz | German: sum sum | Japanese: boon boon |Russian zh-zh-zh |Greek: zoum zoum |Turkish: vizzz

The sounds are also different depending on what the animal is doing. For instance, in English a cat can “meow” or it can “purr.” A small dog barking might say “yap yap” whereas a bigger dog might say “woof” or “bow wow.”


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