Skip to main content

When Does A Cow Not Say Moo

I love this kind of stuff.
Animals make much the same sounds around the world, but each language expresses them differently. English and French cows sound the same, but not in English and French! Explore the sounds of the world's languages through the sounds of the world's animals.
Example:
Afrikaans: moe-moe
Albanian: mu
Arabic (Algeria): mooooooo
Bengali: hamba
Catalan: muuuu
Chinese (Mandarin): mu mu
Croatian: muuuu
Danish: muh
Dutch: boeh
English: moo
English (Old English): Oxa hlew├░.
Esperanto: muu
Estonian: muu
Finnish: ammuu
French: meuh
German: mmuuh
Greek: moo
Hebrew: moo
Hindi: mo:-mo:

This information comes from the website of:

Catherine N. Ball
Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics
Georgetown University
Washington DC 20057
ballc@georgetown.edu
http://www.georgetown.edu/cball/

Comments

RaggedyMom said…
This makes me proud to have been a linguistics major in college - sort of!
westbankmama said…
In Israel dogs say "hav, hav" instead of "bow-wow" or "ruff-ruff". This is one of the things that you need to learn after you make aliyah (and if you have little kids). Guns make the sound "pew-pew", which I always laughed at when my kids played (associating it with p.u., of course).
Jack Steiner said…
Raggedy,

I think that linguistics is pretty interesting.

WBM,

That was interesting. Thank you.
Shira Salamone said…
Back in prehistoric times, when I was a student in France, some French and foreign students were having fun comparing what sounds different languages use for animals. My favorite was ducks. English-speakers say "quack quack," Spanish-speakers say "cua cua" (kwah kwah), and French-speakers say "quin quin," which is almost impossible to transliterate (roughly, kwang kwang) because English has no nasals. The French win, hands down, on the duck sounds, because duck calls sound nasal. :)
Jack Steiner said…
Kwang Kwang? Who knew.
F said…
In Russia people say "aptchee" when they sneeze. My husband would always laugh when I said "achoo" as I sneezed. It really was a discernible word I was making.
the sabra said…
hey thanks for this post, pretty neat.

(got here from ur comment on benji's blog...)
Jack Steiner said…
Hi Sabra,

Welcome.