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 |
|Dog||pes||woof woof / bow-wow||haf haf|
|Goat||koza||baah / maah||mé mé|
|Goose||husa||honk||ga ga ga|
|Owl||sova||hoo / tu-woo||hú|
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!