Onomatopoeia (onomatopeya) rocks. It’s the basis for a lot of my favorite words, particularly animal sounds. But the trouble is that we don’t all hear things the same way. Does a dog go “bow wow,” “woof woof,” “bark bark,” or what? So, of course Spanish speakers hear animals very differently than English speakers. Since I was on a kick with the vet book, I decided to look into animal sounds…and there are some awesome ones. Like a cabra (goat), which says “bee bee.” Even better, there’s a verb for it–balar. So actually, la cabra bala bee bee. ¿Entienden? (By the way, the infamous el chupacabra means “goatsucker.” Chupar means “to suck,” and we now know that cabra is a goat.) Not all animals are lucky enough to get verbs for their sounds. Hacer can be used for those, as well as generally for any animal. La cuco hace cúcu-cúcu (“The cuckoo says, “cuckoo.”).
(Like in English, the following can vary between regions and dialects.)
El burro (donkey) rebuzna/hace iii-aah.
La abeja (bee) zumba/hace bzzz. :: El búho (owl) ulula/hace uu uu.
El caballo (horse) relincha/hace jiiiiiii. :: El cerdo (pig) grune/hace oink-oink.
El cuervo (crow) hace cruaaac-cruaaac. :: El elefante (elephant) barrita/hace prraaahhh, prrraaaahhh.
La gallina (hen) cacarea/hace coc co co coc :: El gallo (rooster) canta/hace kikirikí.
El gato (cat) maulla/hace miau. :: El león (lion) ruge/hace grrrr.
La oveja (sheep) bala/hace mee. :: El mono (monkey) hace i-i-i.
La paloma (dove) arrulla/hace cu-curru-cu-cú. :: El pato (duck) hace cuá cuá.
El pavo (turkey) hace gluglú. :: El perro (dog) ladra/hace guau guau.
El pollito (chick) hace pío pío. :: La rana (frog) croa/hace croac.
El tigre (tiger) ruge/hace ggggrrrr. :: La vaca (cow) muge/hace mu.