The goat says "Meh"
May 21, 2014 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Visualize a comic book, in your language, and imagine what would be written in the text balloon coming from the mouth of an animal. Now translate it. Derek Abbott of The University of Adelaide (previously) has compiled "the world’s biggest multilingual list" of animal sounds, commands, and pet names.
posted by Room 641-A (20 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Admit it, you scanned straight down the list and didn't find it between Elephant and Frog.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:32 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

"The world's biggest"?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:34 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not the biggest, but the most fun resource for international of international onomatopoeias is James Chapman's.

doctor: I’m afraid you have a rare disease called onomatopoeia.
patient: is it serious?
doctor: it’s just as bad as it sounds.

posted by oneswellfoop at 10:45 AM on May 21, 2014 [7 favorites]

If you like that, then you'll probably like Soundimals: International onomatopoeia from around the world.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:48 AM on May 21, 2014

What, no "schnaube" for a bull snorting in German?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:01 AM on May 21, 2014

Birds in France apparently remain silent.
posted by emjaybee at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2014

If you like that, then you'll probably like Soundimals: International onomatopoeia from around the world.

A Portuguese person next to me assured me that trains go "Hu Hu! Pouca Terra Pouca Terra!" and not "Piu Piu"
posted by vacapinta at 11:04 AM on May 21, 2014

Animal Commands: Go away (cat)

You Monsters!
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:20 AM on May 21, 2014

In all of the time I have kept chickens and of all the sounds I have heard them make, "coccodé" has never been even close to one of them. My chickens wouldn't even know how to pronounce that.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:34 AM on May 21, 2014

Woodcocks say "peent"?
posted by psoas at 11:36 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was in Cote d'Ivoire with a student from Germany; neither of us speak French incredibly well. We were in one of the villages outside of the forest we work in with an Ivorian field assistant, and Claudia (the German) pointed at one of the very fancy roosters. "Oh, c'est jolie, le ... le ... merde." And since she couldn't remember the word for roosters, she pointed, and said "l'animal qui dit 'Kickerikee! Kickerikee!" Arsene, our assistant, gave her the most withering look I have ever seen and said (in French), "The word is 'coq,' just like in English. You don't need to make ridiculous noises."
posted by ChuraChura at 11:41 AM on May 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

A horse that says "I-go-go" is probably why Roy Rogers didn't catch on in Russia.
posted by dr_dank at 11:52 AM on May 21, 2014

Finnish roosters are apparently a bit weird, as what they are supposed to say ("kukko kiekuu") literally means "the cock crows." It's even in the third person, so that's pretty much the same as if you yelled out "the man/the woman is shouting." Which would be true at the time. (Pls don't start doing this early every morning.)

On another note, I think some of the entries for Finnish have been influenced by English a bit. For example, while some Finns might claim that a bee makes a bzz sound, some might also say surr instead. It's because Finnish doesn't have a voiced z sound (the letter is there in the alphabet), but many speakers influenced by foreign languages can use it. The r is rolled or trilled, which is another thing that you don't get out of these words lists. I mean, I don't want to complain too much, but they hardly ever tell the whole story.
posted by tykky at 11:55 AM on May 21, 2014

While it's fun to scan down the list, I hope no one takes it seriously. This guy asked some people he knew, one for each language, and put down whatever they said. Under Bird (medium), the Danish is allegedly "dit kari jay sige lige sa tit son jay vol"; I suspect Per-Anker Lindgard was having a little fun. This is exactly as scientific as a Buzzfeed listicle. Enjoy it for what it is, though!
posted by languagehat at 11:56 AM on May 21, 2014

Also, this list needs to point out that roosters say "cocorico" (not "cock-a-doodle-do") in Britain. Very confusing for 'muricans.
posted by dhens at 12:09 PM on May 21, 2014

But what does the fox say?
posted by brenton at 12:15 PM on May 21, 2014

See also: bzzpeek
posted by Foosnark at 1:20 PM on May 21, 2014

i think that's the most beautiful thing i've seen in ages
posted by maiamaia at 1:38 PM on May 21, 2014

As seen on Family Guy
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:57 PM on May 21, 2014

In Japanese the fox says "kon kon", which makes that song's lyrics even stranger. It's like having a song all about how nobody knows what sound sound pigs make.
posted by Bugbread at 5:23 AM on May 23, 2014

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