Regional cockcrows (and other noises)
I’ve always been a little bit fascinated with the words that different languages use to describe the noises that animals make. I know that these words are affected by the phonemes that each language has at its disposal, but it wasn’t until recently that I realised that the actual sounds that the animals make have regional differences, too.
Last time I talked a little bit about Dr Victoria de Rijke, or Dr Quack, and her studies on regional differences in duck quacks. She’s also headed up an initiative called The Quack Project, which has collected animal sounds from 15 different languages. Cutely, the recordings are all of young children. MP3s in these languages, for cockerel, cow, dog, duck, frog, horse, and pig, are available here.
This page has a list of how you pronounce a pig’s sound (oink in English), from snork in Afrikaans to the quite different ood in Thai. One of the sounds which brings the most argument and laughs between languages is that of the cockcrow. Bootstrappin’ has a great post about the differences and a long list of regional rooster sounds, including the Spanish quiquiriquí and the Icelandic gaggala gaggala gú. The majority of the noises have a hard k sound, like the French cocorico and the Dutch kukeleku.
But how much of these differences are because the actual animals make different noises? I haven’t found a resource that records animal sounds from around the world, but a Thai language blog has at least compared Thai and American roosters. Do you agree with the author that Thai roosters need to try harder?