Sunday, June 14, 2009

Korean Animal Sounds or Sounds that Animals Make in the Korean Language

Here's the question:

I was wondering if you knew the sounds that animals made in Korean? Like a pig says "Oink, Oink" in English, how about Korean?
This is a fun one. I remember asking the same question to a Chinese exchange student while I was in college. I was aware of only a few animal sounds, so I had to ask my wife. Forgive the possibly inaccurate romanization. I'll also include the English for a little comparison.

Bee: boong-boong (English: bzzzz)

Bird: jek jek (tweet)

Cat: ya-ong (meow)

Chicken: gogode koko (chick chick)

Chicks: ppi-yak-ppi-yak (peep peep)

Cow: um-muuuu (moo~)

Crow: kka-ak-kka-ak (caw caw)

Dog: meong-meong (ruff ruff)

Duck: kkoyk-kkoyk (quack quack)

Frog: gae-gul gae-gul (ribbet ribbet)

Goat: um-mee~ (baaah)

Horse: hee-hing (nay)

Owl: buung-buung (hoo)

Pig: kkool-kkool (oink oink)

Sheep: mee~ (baah)

That took longer than you might think. Most of those work for me, but a few of the Korean sounds make no sense. The sound a bee makes in English is from the sound its wings make when flying at full-speed. The Korean "boong-boong" apparently is the sound their wings make when flapping slowly, but do bees flap slowly. I don't think applying logic to something like this is worth it though. I'm also not sure I've ever heard a horse say "hee-hing" and I'm certain that owls do not say "buung-buung", but then again do frogs really say "ribbet"?

If anyone has something to add (or correct), please leave it in the comments and I'll add it to the list. I thought about getting into other sounds like car horns and motorcycles, but that list might get out of hand.

If anybody has any questions, just send me an email at or leave a comment.

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