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I have always been interested in the ways that animal sounds are "translated" in foreign languages. Presumably, the sounds are the same to our ears.

In English:

  • Dog: woof
  • Cat: meow
  • Cow: moo
  • Duck: quack
  • Frog: ribbit

How are these translated by German ears?

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Reminds me of a great French lesson: "What does quoique mean?" - "That's the sound frogs make in France." Might only work with a German audience, though ;) –  OregonGhost Jun 23 '11 at 8:28

3 Answers 3

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These are words which are commonly used in German:

  • dog: wau wau (verb: bellen)
  • cat: miau (verb: miauen)
  • cow: muh (verb: muhen)
  • duck: quak (verb: quaken)
  • frog: quak (verb: quaken)

Other animals:

  • rooster: kikeriki (verb: krähen)
  • donkey: i-ah
  • sheep: mäh or bäh (verb: blöken)
  • bird: piep piep (verb: zwitschern)
  • horse: - (verb: wiehern)
  • owl: hu hu
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@Gigili: Correct, though written summ summ in German. @splattne: Maybe the variants wuff for dogs and maunz for cats? At least I've heard them as much as the other ones. –  OregonGhost Jun 23 '11 at 8:29
    
@OregonGhost: Just saw that in Takkat's answer! –  user508 Jun 23 '11 at 8:31

Animal sounds are made up to sound similar when spoken (Onomatopoeia), using doubling of the sound in some times. Your examples will translate as follows:

  • Dog: woof = Wauwau
  • Cat: meow = Miau
  • Cow: moo = Muh
  • Duck: quack = Qua[c]k
  • Frog: ribbit = Qua[c]k

Here are some more examples:

  • Bird: = Piep[piep]
  • Bee: = Summ[summ]
  • Donkey: = Ia[ia]
  • Goat: = Meh
  • Sheep: = Mäh
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