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My cat says ‘Miau’, what does your pet say?

My cat says ‘Miau’, what does your pet say? Miau (Spanish), meow (English), miao (Italian), miāo (Chinese), Yaong (Japanese), etc…

These sounds are called onomatopoeia. Believe it or not, sounds differ from language to language. For example, in English, to describe a resonant sound, they say ‘Boom’. In Spanish, we say ‘Pum’, and so on.

In the case of animals, they make different noises depending on the country – or at least, these sounds are perceived in a different way. For example, a pig says OINK in English, OING in Spanish, BUU in Japanese, GRUNZ in German, KNOR in Dutch, etc…

I bet you tried to imitate the sound of the animal in each language. Some sound really different from the one in your language, right?

The reason is that each language processes the sounds in a different way, depending on the region and what is heard.

So it seems that the sound of animals is just a matter of perception; however, it’s something which really makes you think about the effect environmental factors have on language.

What do you think? What noises do your pets make?

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About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

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