The Sounds That Animals Make in English

Posted on 22. May, 2012 by 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 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 I 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.

8 Responses to “The Sounds That Animals Make in English”

  1. mehrdad 23 May 2012 at 3:17 am #

    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

  2. gabriele 29 May 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    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.

  3. Kai 6 October 2012 at 8:36 am #

    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

  4. saswath.s 10 July 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    excellent. thank u.

  5. Mirna 2 January 2014 at 11:33 am #

    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

  6. gabriele 5 January 2014 at 10:23 pm #

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

  7. Monica 13 February 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    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

  8. gabriele 13 February 2014 at 6:52 pm #

    Awesome! Thank you for sharing this Monica.


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