It is highly likely that, as a toddler, some version of the song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” bounced around inside your head and, as you sang it repeatedly, bounced around the heads of all those in your vicinity. Yet learning animal sounds in Spanish, or indeed any language is not just for small people. In fact, it can be extremely useful for learning how to pronounce tricky vowels and consonant sounds in any new language.
Many of the animals‘ sounds in Spanish are similar to their English equivalent because the onomatopoeia, or nomatopeya, in Spanish or any language is pretty universal. However, there are also some lovely surprises that make one realize that Dr. Doolittle did have his work cut out trying to learn not only the languages of all the different animals but their varied and diverse dialects. As in any language, there may be some dialectic differences and regional variations when it comes to the different animal sounds in Spanish that our furry and feathered friends emit.
Animal Sounds In Spanish Are A Bit Different
So, let’s dive in and take a peek at animal noises and sounds in Spanish and how they can indirectly add to your understanding of the bigger picture.
The Braying Burro
Donkey (Burro) – Christopher Robin’s eternally depressed chum Eeyore is given his name because it is the phonetic spelling of the English sound of a donkey’s bray – hee haw. In Spanish, the sound is a similar “iii-ahh.” The donkey’s bray, los burros rebuznan uses the noun rebuznar, a term often aimed at someone who complains about something for no good reason. A bit like Eeyore, really!
The Quirky Rooster
Rooster (El Gallo) – In English, the cry of the rooster is cock-a-doodle-do. To the Spanish ear, this sound translates as one of my favorite animal sounds in Spanish, which is “quiquiriquí, kikirikí.” The Spanish verb form of the phonetic is cacarear. When directed at a human subject, the word suggests that they are bragging about something or other.
The Birds And The Bees
Bird (Pájaro) – Where we might say tweet-tweet, the Spanish refer to the generic noise a bird makes as pío with the stress on the first syllable PEE-oh.
Duck (Pato) – The sound this waddling water bird makes in Spanish is “cuac cuac”, so similar to the English quack. However, the verb form of to sound like a duck is graznar, a term often used to describe a person who talks a load of noisesome babble.
Bee (La Abeja) – As they do the world over, bees in Spain make a buzzzzzzing sound. Zumbar, the verb form, means to whack – something one should never do to a bee.
The Croaking Frogs
Frog (La Rana) – Similar to the English croak, a Spanish frog will pop its head out in the early evening to sing “croá, croá.” The verb croar is often used to describe someone with a rana in their throat or someone who is sounding a bit hoarse.
The Neighing Horses
Horse (El Caballo) – To the Spanish ear, the whinny or neigh of these four-legged flowing-maned farm animals is “iiiou.” The verb relinchar can also mean to make a snorting sound like some people do when they laugh, which can make them sound like they are making their very own Spanish animal sounds.
Dog (El Perro) – So, what about man’s best friend? In Spanish, these huggable hounds make a “guau” sound rather than the typical English bark, woof, or bow wow. Ladrar, the Spanish verb to bark, is often used when describing a blusterer – all talk and no trousers, as it were.
Cat (El Gato) – It seems that our feline friends make similar noises in English and Spanish. The Iberian version of meow is “miau.” Although to purr is ronronear, to hiss is bufar or fufar and to make an almighty caterwaul is marramizar, so there are some differences in how this Spanish animal sounds in Spanish.
The Delightful Dove
Dove (Palloma) – Where in English we have coo; the Spanish have the far more evocative and one of the more beautiful animal sounds in Spanish, “cu-curru-cu-cú.” Popular in love songs, the Spanish verb arrullar means to talk to someone in a soft, gentle, and loving way, much like when the English coo about someone they fancy.
The Cheeky Monkey
Monkey (el Mono) – When the Spanish listen to the sounds of these cheeky simians, they hear “i-i-i.” The animal sounds of screeching monkeys, or the verb chillar, is also commonly used when describing a human shouting and attempting to make similar noises to animal sounds in Spanish when they yell, scream and shout.
Pig (El Cerdo) – Whether pig, swine, or hog, these loveable porkers make a similarly onomatopoeic sound on either side of the Channel. In English, the animal sounds like it is making an oink-oink noise and the Spanish animal sounds pigs make is “oinc-oinc.” The word gruñir, to oink or grunt, can be used in Spain about somebody who whines and complains constantly.
The Mighty Tiger
Tiger (El Tigre) – What about the biggest of the Big Cats? The sound in Spanish these stripy felines let out is a mighty “grgrgrgr”. Okay, maybe not as impressive as a roar, but the Spanish verb rugir (to roar) is often employed when describing the sound of a raging storm or the shouts of an irate human.
Turkey (Pavo) – This tasty bird is almost universally silly sounding, and no more than it sounds in Spanish. Where in English, this Christmas staple goes gobble-gobble, in Spain, it emits a “gluglú.” Gluglutear means to gobble, which is not so different from the English then.
Learn Spanish With Ling App
I hope this small taste of the sonorous sounds of the wild, and not so wild, has helped broaden your glossary of animal sounds in Spanish. If you would like to jump in deeper and learn more words, rather than simply animal sounds in Spanish, why not peruse our other Spanish blogs at our Ling App?
The App is packed full of vocabulary and grammar, and there are also writing exercises, games, and quizzes for you to enjoy. So, why not download the Ling App at iOS App Store or Google Play to your phone today and start making your own animal noises in Spanish or animal sounds in any other language that takes your fancy?