Dos and Don’ts: Czech Animal Sounds

Dos and Don’ts: Czech Animal Sounds

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/komár buzz/zzzz bzzz
Bird     pták     tweet-tweet píp píp
Cat     kočka     meow-meow mňau mňau
Chick      kuřátko     cheep-cheep píp píp
Cow     kráva     moo    
Crow     vrána     caw     krá krá 
Dog     pes     woof woof / bow-wow haf haf
Donkey     osel     hee-haw iá iá
Duck     kachna     quack     káč káč
Frog     žába     ribbit-ribbit  kvák kvák
Goat     koza     baah / maah mé mé 
Goose     husa     honk     ga ga ga 
Hen     slepice     bock-bock kokodák 
Horse     kůň     neigh     ihaha 
Lion/Tiger   lev/tygr roar    
Mouse     myš     squeak     kvík
Owl     sova     hoo / tu-woo
Pig     prase     oink-oink chroch-chroch
Rooster    kohout  cock-a-doodle-doo kykyryký
Sheep ovce     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.

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

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


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