Noises stuff makes...


Valued Senior Member
I often find it funny the sorts of sounds things make in other languages. It's a classic conversation peace of mine, post a few beers and things seem a little dull.

For example: Dogs in English say: Bark Bark or Roof Roof but in Japanese they say: Wong Wong

cute huh?

In American-English:

Dog = Bark bark or Roof roof (maybe ruff ruff)
Cat = Meow
Chicken = Cluck cluck
Cow = Mooooo
Sheep = Bwaaaaa (i think?)
Donkey = HeeHaw
Crow = Crow
Food Frying = sizzle sizzle
Frog = Rrrr-ibbit (sp?)
Bird = churp churp
Horn = Honk honk or beep beep
heart = thump thump thump
Rain = pidder padder
Wind = whooosh
Water = swoosh

So? Any noises you want to share? Any that seem funny or have a different sound to you?
Dogs in English say: Bark Bark or Roof Roof but in Japanese they say: Wong Wong
That looks more like Cantonese Chinese. Japanese doesn't have the phonemes to say those sounds or the characters to write them.
Dog = Bark bark or Roof roof (maybe ruff ruff)
Often we use one word for the verb and another for the sound itself. Bark is the verb: The dog barked. In America at least, the sound they make is usually rendered bow-wow or woof-woof. "Roof" is used in jokes.
  • Comedian: I have a talking dog.
  • Straight man: I don't believe you.
  • Comedian: Really. Spot, what do you call the pointy thing on top of a house?
  • Spot: Roof.
  • Comedian: See? He can talk. Spot, how was the ride in the baggage compartment of the airliner?
  • Spot: Rough.
Donkeys bray, but the sound is written hee-haw.
Sheep = Bwaaaaa (I think?)
Traditionally spelled "baa," as in the old nursery rhyme from England, "Baa baa, black sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full."

Interestingly, AFAIK the ancient Greeks were the first people on record to transcribe this sound and they wrote it BHH. (Beta eta eta.) In ancient Greek, beta was pronounced like English B and eta was similar to the A in "hand." That was actually a very faithful rendering. In modern Greek beta is pronounced like English V and eta is pronounced like the E in "feel," so when people encounter that ancient transcription they pronounce it VEE-EE. Greek scholars say, "After three thousand years the sheep still remember how to speak their own language. We don't."
Frog = Rrrr-ibbit (sp?)
I usually see ribit. I think this one is fairly new. In the 1950s all I remember seeing was "croak."

Ducks quack, geese honk, horses neigh or whinney, little birds tweet and big ones squawk.

Both the Chinese and Ancient Egyptian word for "cat" is mau. (Spelled mao in both Wade-Giles and Pin-Yin.) Several birds are named for their calls, such as the chickadee and whippoorwill.
Oh, so when we laugh we write "Haa!"?
No, actually, it's customarily written "ha". We write the sheep sound as "baa" because there is actually a little stutter in their voice so it sounds like more than one syllable. "Ha" is one syllable and if it's a long laugh we write it "Ha ha ha ha..." You have some interesting new ways of writing things. Where are you from?
No, actually, it's customarily written "ha". We write the sheep sound as "baa" because there is actually a little stutter in their voice so it sounds like more than one syllable. "Ha" is one syllable and if it's a long laugh we write it "Ha ha ha ha..." You have some interesting new ways of writing things. Where are you from?
Sadly Michigan!
But I live in Australia - 8 years now, sometimes I can't remember the US spelling or I think I do but it's wrong. I don't sound Aussie at all but I sound funny to Americans, and they sound a little funny to me too!

yeah fraggle is right,

sheep = baa
dog = woof (i just realsied dog is god backwards, from a typo)

the nursary rhyme baa baa black sheep has been banned in many english schools, because it is seen as racist. just like tin tin has been banned from many places, because it apparently promotes slavery.

I just realised dog is god backwards
And its a word whose etymology is a mystery, with no cognates in other Indo-European languages. The Teutonic word is "hound," an umlauted version of German hund. Filtering through the K/H shift of Grimm's law, it's also the same word as Latin canis and Greek kyon. An ancient and venerable word indeed, going all the way back to the split between the Western or Kentum (Latin for hundred) and Eastern or Satem (Sanskrit for hundred) branches of the Indo-European family, at least 4,500 years ago.
The nursery rhyme "Baa Baa Black Sheep" has been banned in many English schools, because it is seen as racist.
What a dadgum shame that is. One of the most enduring components of human culture is children's culture. European children play certain games today that have hardly changed from those of children in the Roman Empire. Nursery rhymes are rich sources of history and mythology. "Baa Baa Black Sheep" has nothing to do with human skin tones. It teaches us about the economics of agriculture in the era before modern dyes made colored textiles so cheap and easy to produce. Black sheep are exceedingly rare. Someone who had "three bags full" of black wool had a small fortune.
Fraggle, 100 in Sanskrit is shatam or shata, not satem.
Yes, I've been corrected on that before, but I haven't managed to go back and edit all my old posts. The Eastern Indo-European languages were formerly known as the Satem Group because satem is the Avestan word for hundred, not Sanskrit.

The Western Indo-European languages were called the Kentum (or Centum) Group because centum is the Latin word for hundred. This illustrates what, in the 19th century, was regarded as the fundamental distinction between the two branches of the language family. The original Proto-Indo-European word for "hundred" was kmtom. When the Proto-Indo-Europeans (supposedly) split into two tribes, the western tribe retained the K, whereas in the language of the Eastern tribe that K was palatalized into S. The two prominent sub-branches of Eastern Indo-European are Indo-Iranian and Balto-Slavic. The S of satem in Avestan (one of the earliest Indo-Iranian languages, in which the Zoroastrian scriptures were written) was used to identify that group. It could have been the S of Russian sto, but in those days the Indo-Iranian languages were studied more intensively than Balto-Slavic because of their much longer written history, and their people's prominent role in the development of civilization.

This paradigm has subsequently broken down in many ways. For one thing, palatalization is a very strong force in phonetic evolution and it has continued to "distort" the original words for "hundred." The identifying K in the word for "hundred" in the Western languages has been palatalized in myriad ways. The C in Latin centum is still there in the written word, but the sound has palatalized and also changed in other ways. It's S in French cent, it's TH in Castilian Spanish ciento, and it's CH in Italian cento. It's H in English "hundred" and German hundert. The Greeks have managed to keep the K alive in hekaton and the Irish in céad. If we were to talk about the "Centum Languages" today, virtually everyone but a linguist would read it as "sentum" and not see any difference from the already-palatalized consonant in satem. Furthermore, as rcswc points out, even the S in satem has been palatalized in the Indic languages, and has become SH.

For another, the K/S distinction has not proven to be a definitive identifier. The extinct Tocharian language maintained the K, but it is now regarded as a separate branch of Indo-European, not closely related to the Western/Kentum branch (Germanic, Celtic and Italic). Even Greek, which is more closely related to them than Tocharian, is now considered by some linguists to have split off from the Western branch early in the migration from the Pontic Steppe. Armenian was grouped with the Eastern/Satem languages, but today it is also regarded by some as a distant relative. As for the Albanians, from what I have read nobody really knows how they arrived in Europe, but their language is also not closely related to either the Eastern/Satem or Western/Kentum groups.