Dos and Don’ts: Czech Animal Sounds

What will you hear at the farm, in the forest, or at the zoo in the ČR?

If you have Czech-speaking children, or Czech friends with children, you will have probably heard some of the local variations of animal noises. Sometimes, the English and Czech equivalents are close to one another. Others couldn’t be more different and leave you wondering if the person making the noise have the same animal in mind.

Strange as it may sound, people can be quite defensive about their language’s animal onomatopoeia. Just as we can be sure that cats meow and dogs go woof (or bow-wow), most Czech people will be certain of the accuracy of their animal sounds. Every time it has come up in conversation – and it comes up more often than you’d think – either side of the language divide will swear by the truthfulness of their bark, mew or whatever. Of course, most of this is harmless fun, and you are unlikely to upset anyone with the English version, except maybe a Czech three-year-old who has proudly mastered these noises.

Learning the animal noises can have other benefits apart from improving friendly conversation. The sounds are a good way of practicing vowels, especially distinguishing between the long and short forms plus the diphthong ‘au’.

Lastly, and maybe most of all, it’s a lot of fun. So whatever your reasons, here are some Czech animal sounds:

Animal Czech Name Eng. Animal Noise
Czech Equivalent
Bear     medvěd     grrrr    brum
Bee/fly/mosquito  Včela/moucha/komárbuzz/zzzzbzzz
Bird    pták    tweet-tweetpíp píp
Cat    kočka    meow-meowmňau mňau
Chick     kuřátko    cheep-cheeppíp píp
Cow    kráva    moo    
Crow    vrána    caw    krá krá 
Dog    pes    woof woof / bow-wowhaf haf
Donkey    osel    hee-hawiá iá
Duck    kachna    quack    káč káč
Frog    žába    ribbit-ribbit kvák kvák
Goat    koza    baah / maahmé mé 
Goose    husa    honk    ga ga ga 
Hen    slepice    bock-bock kokodák 
Horse    kůň    neigh    ihaha 
Lion/Tiger  lev/tygrroar    
Mouse    myš    squeak    kvík
Owl    sova    hoo / tu-woo
Pig    prase    oink-oinkchroch-chroch
Rooster   kohout cock-a-doodle-dookykyryký
Sheepovce    baah    bé bé
Snake    had    hiss    ssssss

If you want to hear these sounds, there is a song by Jaroslav Uhlíř and the famous actor and director, Zdeněk Svěrák, called “Krávy, krávy”. It covers some of the essential animal noises.

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There is also a Czech version of “Old MacDonald”. (The Czech version is at the bottom of the link.)

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If we’ve left something off, please let us know!

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