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Spanish Pronunciation


Talking Like the Animals
Words for Animals Sounds Vary by Language

If a cow says "moo" in English, what does she say in Spanish? Mu, of course.

But when we're talking about sounds that animals make, it isn't always that simple. Although the words we give to animal sounds are an example of onomatopoeia (onomatopeya in Spanish), meaning words that are intended to imitate sounds, those sounds aren't perceived the same in all languages or all cultures.

For example, take the lowly frog, who says "ribbit" when he's in the United States. But according to Sounds of the World's Animals, take that same frog to France, and he says "coa-coa." Take him to Korea, and he says "gae-gool-gae-gool." And in Argentina he says "¡berp!"

Following is a chart showing the sounds that some animals make in Spanish, the corresponding verbs forms where they exist (in parentheses), and English equivalents. Keep in mind that some of these terms can vary by country, and that there very well may be other terms in use. That shouldn't be surprising — after all, in English we use words such as "bark," "bow-wow," "ruff-ruff" and "arf" to imitate the sound of a dog. There also may be a variety of spelling alternatives.

Note also that in Spanish is is possible to use the verb hacer to put a sound in verb form. For example, one could say "the pig oinks" by saying "el cerdo hace oink-oink."
Animal Sonido (verbo) Sound
abeja (bee) bzzz (zumbar) buzz
búho (owl) uu uu (ulular) who, hoo
burro (donkey) iii-aah (rebuznar) heehaw
caballo (horse) jiiiiiii, iiiiou (relinchar) neigh, n-a-a-a-y
cabra (goat) bee bee (balar) b-a-a-a-a
cerdo (pig) oink-oink, oinc-oinc (grunir) oink
cuco (cuckoo) cúcu-cúcu cuckoo
cuervo (crow) cruaaac-cruaaac caw
gallina (hen) coc co co coc (cacarear), kara-kara-kara-kara cluck
gallo (rooster) kikirikí, ki-kiri-ki (cantar) cock-a-doodle-doo
gato (cat) miau (maullar) meow
león (lion) grrrr, grgrgr (rugir) roar, growl
oveja (sheep) bee, mee (balar) b-a-a-a-h
mono (monkey) i-i-i
paloma (dove) cu-curru-cu-cú (arrullar) coo
pato (duck) cuac cuac quack
pavo (turkey) gluglú gobble
perro (dog) guau guau, guau (ladrar) bark, bow-wow, arf, ruff
pollito (chick) pío pío chirp
rana (frog) cruá cruá, berp, croac (croar) ribbit, croak
tigre (tiger) ggggrrrr, grgrgr (rugir) roar, growl
vaca (cow) mu, muuu (mugir) moo

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