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The Sounds That Animals Make in English Posted by on May 22, 2012 in English Vocabulary

It is amazing how different people around the world hear the sounds of the same animals.  I always find this fascinating at least.  Since I have been talking about onomatopoeia in the last few posts I thought I would share with you the way the sounds of some different animals are heard and written in English.  Some of these are a little different from the verbs used to describe these sound, which I listed yesterday.  I have noted the words below that cannot be used (or usually are not used) as verbs with an asterisks (*).  All the other words can be turned into verbs and conjugated.  I have also included a video below of a children’s song that you can listen to in order to hear how all of these examples of onomatopoeia sound. Something else to note about writing animal sounds in English is that often the words are written with repeated letters to emphasize the sounds, for example: buzz (the sounds many insects make) may be written as “buzzzzzzzzzzzz” or moo (the sound a cow makes) may be written as “mooooooooo”.   Also some animal sounds are written twice connected by a hyphen, for example: cluck-cluck (the sound a chicken makes).  I have noted the most common examples of this below.


I would love if you left a comment on this post telling us all how people hear these same animal sounds differently in the language you speak. 🙂

Below I have written the animal’s name, with its sound(s) after the colon.  Remember words with * should not be made into verbs.

bee: buzz (also written bzz)
bear: grrr*, growl
birds: cheep-cheep*, chirp, tweet*, squawk
cats: meow, purr
chicken: cluck (or cluck-cluck)
cow: moo
dog: arf*, woof* (or woof-woof), ruff* (or ruff-ruff), bow wow*, bark
dove: coo
donkey: hee-haw
duck: quack (or quack-quack)
frog: croak, ribbit (or ribbit-ribbit)
horse: neigh
sheep or goat: baa*
pig: oink (or oink-oink)
mouse: squeak (or squeak-squeak)
owl: whoo-whoo
rooster: cock-a-doodle-doo*
snake: hiss
tiger: grrr*, raaa*, growl, roar
turkey: gobble (or gobble-gobble)
wolves: ou ou ouooooo*, howl

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About the Author:Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.

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  1. mehrdad:

    hi I am from iran, as you know my language is persian or Farsi, thanks a lot for your interesting information, I just manage to use this information in my class here sounds of some animals and insects in farsi: bee: vizz chicken: jik jik hen: ghod_ghod cats: meow cow: mooow dog: hap_hap dove: baghbaghu donkey: arr_arr frog: ghur_ghur sheep or goat: baa rooster: ghughuli ghu ghu

    • gabriele:

      @mehrdad This is wonderful! It is interesting to see that some animals sounds are the same in Farsi and English (for example: cats) while others are different (for example: frogs). Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. Kai:

    Thank you for this list, I was just needing something like this! Regarding animal sounds in other languages, I also just came across the wikipedia list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-linguistic_onomatopoeias#Animal_sounds

  3. saswath.s:

    excellent. thank u.

  4. Mirna:

    Hi, I'm from Mexico. Thanks for the information. These are some sounds in Spanish (verbs): bee: zumba chicken: pía hen: cacaraquea cat: maúlla cow: muge dog: ladra dove: cantan donkey: rebuznar frog: croa o canta sheep or goat: balan rooster: canta

    • gabriele:

      @Mirna Mirna, Wonderful! Thank you for sharing these. It is fun to see how different they are. -Erin

  5. Monica:

    Hi there Im from the Czech republic. Sounds of animals in czech:-) : cat- mňau dog - baf baf cow - búú goat - meee sheep - beee chicken - píp píp frog - kvak donkey - íá íá bee, fly - bzzz hen - kokodák rooster - kykyryký bear - brum brum snake - sss owl - hú hú dove - vrkú

  6. Mateusz:

    Polish: bee: bzzzz birds: cip-cip (sounds exactly like cheep-cheep, sparrows for instance); twee-twee = tłi tłi (other small birds); kra-kra (crow, rooks and ravens) cats: miau, mrrrr cow: mmuuuuu dog: hau-hau (pronounced as "how-how") donkey: ihaaaa duck: kwa-kwa (English kfa-kfa?) frog: łebek-łebek ("web-ek web-ek") horse: I think just like a donkey sheep or goat: m-me-e-e-e pig: kwik-kwik and chrum-chrum mouse: pii-pii owl: hu-hu rooster: kukuryku! snake: ssss..

    • Gabriele:

      @Mateusz Mateusz, These are wonderful! Thank you for posting them. -Gabriele

  7. Migdalia Mazor:

    I like reading through a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  8. tamer:

    very funny :o)) in Turkish: bee: vızzz or vzzz bear: gırrr or grrr bird: cik cik cat: miyav or maavv chicken: gıt gıt gıdaakk ::o)) cow: möö dog: hav hav dove: gurk gurrk donkey: aaiii aaiii duck: vak vak frog: vıraak or vraak horse: ihihiii sheep or goat: mee or bee pig: hurg mouse: I've never heard but I think iiikk owl: huuu rooster: ü ürüü üü snake: sss tiger: rrr or grr turkey: glu glu glu wolf: ouuu have a nice week! :o)

  9. Danisa:

    In IsiNdebele Zimbabwe Bee------zizizi Cat------ngewu Cow------muuuu Donkey---Oh oh oh Dog------Wuu wuu Roaster--Kigirigorigo

  10. jogeswar patra:

    Excellent, many many thanks.

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