Posted by: janecronin | July 19, 2011

Unexpected differences – Spanish animal noises

I wrote about this in my “Going Native” book quite a while ago, and got some mileage out of it in some comic speeches, but was reminded again the other day about the strange phenomenon of animal noises in other languages.

To start with, did you know that Spanish cockerels do not say “Cock-a-doodle-doo’?  Indeed they don’t, they say “qui-quiri-qui”.  Well, of course. 

No dog in Spain is expected to get his chops round “woof woof”, instead he can get away with a whole-hearted “guau guau”. 

As for ducks, they say “cua cua” and are not obliged to attempt that final “ck” which must be so difficult for a duck.

My favourite of all is the Spanish for “tweet tweet” which is “pio pio”.  I think that’s lovely.  Tweety Pie is called Piolín, but come to think of it, how does Piolín say “I tought I taw a Puddytat”?  More research required.


  1. Reading this for the first time…and enjoying it! But how are words like these (plus other new words) pronounced? I think we should be told (phonetically)…….

  2. Hi Gerry,

    The words are all spelt phonetically which makes them very clear once you’ve learnt the Spanish alphabet! For a guide to Spanish pronunciation have a look at these videos, especially the first two:

    I don’t usually write phonetic spellings using the English spelling system because I think it leads to a very anglicised pronunciation. I know a lot of teachers do it, but I think it’s best to learn the Spanish system from the beginning.

    Glad you like the blogs!

  3. Thanks, Jane. I should have realised, I have watched all your pronounciation vids. My wife and I are regular visitors to Costa Blanca in late winter/early spring and love the culture but our language skills are still really rudimentary! I have already learnt a lot from your website though.

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