08 października 2010

Świnka! Kwiczy!

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am amused and interested by animals and the various names for animal sounds. It is entertaining to discover the differences in the words we use to describe animal sounds in different languages. Besides, animals are just plain fun to talk about. Easy vocabulary building. Knowing the nominative forms of animals, you can easily insult those around you by calling them various animal names. Mast of early first Polish statements were in some form related to "You are a/an X." / "Ty jesteś X." Careful with this!

Today I'll list a few common (and uncommon) animals, along with a little discussion about how they sound. Let's start with some basics everyone ought to learn, along with my best guess of how we name their sound. The next level of entertainment would be how we actually vocalise their sounds. For example, we say in English that a dog barks, although if we imitate a bark we usually say something like 'woof,' or 'ruff.' Poles however, use the verb 'szczekać' for 'bark,' but might imitate the sound as 'how how.' Fun!
  • cow / krowa
    • moo / muczeć
  • horse / koń
    • whinny / rżeć
  • dog / pies
    • bark / szczekać
  • cat / kot
    • meow / miałczeć
  • mouse / mysz
    • squeak / piszczeć
  • lion / lew
    • roar / ryczeć
  • tiger / tygrys
    • roar / ryczeć
  • bear / niedźwiedź
    • roar / ryczeć
  • bird / ptak
    • chirp / ćwierkać
  • pig / świnia
    • squeal / kwiczać kwiczeć
    • oink / ??
    • snort / prychać or parskać (or the perfective forms prychnąć and parsknąć?). More about perfective and imperfective forms another day.
Now, on to a few others:
  • snake / wąż
    • hiss / syczeć
  • badger / borsuk
    • ?? / ??
  • hamster / chomik
    • squeak / piszczeć
  • rat / szczur
    • squeak / piszczeć
  •  donkey / osioł
    • bray / ryczeć
  •  giraffe / żyrafa
    • ?? / ??
  •  zebra / zebra
    • whinny? / rżeć
  •  monkey / małpa
    • screech? / skrzeczeć
  • deer / jeleń
    • ?? / ??
  • frog / żaba
    • ribbit / kumkać
    • croak / rechotać - have I got these the right way around?
Do you agree with my summary? What have I missed? I have left question marks on the ones I'm not sure about. I'll leave the discussion of the diminutive forms for later. Maybe I have chosen some remarkably silent animals. I'm interested in the similarity between ryczeć (from roar and bray) and rżeć for whinny. Of course, I don't expect to always find direct, literal translations and understand that gaps and differences do exist.

Do donkeys and horses sound different? Tell me what your favourite animals are and I'll add them to another list. Help me fill out the chart by commenting below!

13 komentarzy:

  1. As far as horses are concerned, one should distinguish between regular sounds and "odgłosy paszczą" ;)

  2. # pig / świnia

    * squeal / kwiczać?

    i would say kwiczeć :) another word is chrumkać: http://www.sjp.pl/co/chrumka%E6


  3. I would say that hamsters piszczą as mice do. As far as donkeys and horses go, they definitely sound different. The words for those sounds may look similar, but they aren't, in fact.

  4. just listen to!


  5. A propos of animals, collective nouns for various animals indeed even birds is simply stado. So much easier (but so much less interesting) than 'herd', 'flock', 'pride', 'school', 'troop', 'murder', etc.

    Full list of English collective nouns for animals here.

  6. @ Jan - Great link - Rejs is on my 'to watch' list. Now that I finally have a copy with subtitles I'll get to it soon.

    @ Julia - Thanks for the correction, and a dictionary I haven't seen before.

    @ Michael - I am absolutely relieved to learn of stado I would be years learning all the collective nouns po polsku.

    I'm glad for your collective comments! This is fun.

  7. @ Stanisław - I failed to attribute the post title to your earlier comment. Thanks!

  8. Zapomniałeś o borsuku;)

  9. A tu znajdzies odgłosy prawdziwego borsuka:))


  10. Thanks Anon. I might say it sounded like the badger barked and growled. Badger experts probably have a special word. A quick search reveals the truth:


    Sounds include churr, purr, wail, chitter . . . etc. Complicated animal!

  11. I'm particularly interested in bird calls and songs. In English, there are several birds that say their name such as the American Pipit, the Black-capped Chickadee, the Eastern Phoebe, the Whippoorwill, the Kildeer (we call them name-sayers) and others whose vocalisations we remember with a mnemonic e.g. the American Goldfinch says "potato chip", the White-Throated Sparrow says "O Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada" and the Olive-Sided Flycatcher says "Quick Three Beers". I wonder if ornithologists in Poland have similar ways of classifying and remembering the songs and calls of birds there.http://www.1000plus.com/BirdSong/birdsngb.html

  12. @ DMM:

    I'm sure the Polish contingent of my readership may have some ideas on what the Polish birds might say. Failing that you'll have to come to Poland and find out for yourself. I don't know any ornithologists here - yet.

  13. Hmmm, I will come to find out for myself!


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