the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Goats Around the World


I have no idea whether anyone is interested in this other than me, but I found it fascinating that different cultures “hear” animal sounds in completely different ways. 

And it’s my blog, so I’ll post about it anyway.

This is how goats sound around the world:

    Afrikaans: mê-mê
    Albanian: me-e me-e
    Arabic (Algeria): maa maa
    Arabic (Morocco): maaaazz
    Catalan: bée
    Croatian: meee-heee
    Danish: mæh
    Dutch: mèèh
    English: baaah
    French: bêêê
    German: mähh, mähh
    Hebrew: meeee meeee
    Hindi: me:-me:
    Indonesian: mbek
    Korean: um-meeeee
    Norwegian: mæ
    Polish: meee, meee
    Russian: mee
    Spanish (Spain): bee bee
    Swedish: bää
    Thai: bae bae (with high tone)
    Turkish: be-e-e-eh be-e-e-eh
    Ukrainian: me-me

I found the information at this terrific site.

Did you know that Hebrew speakers hear dogs go “Hav Hav?”


  1. Alison


    (That’s French dogspeak).

  2. ChickyBabe

    I feel totally enlightened today! Meeh…

  3. jackt

    Here geckos go “gecko!”. In Thailand they go “Took-kaa”!

  4. ms. sizzle

    so are ukranians responsible for the whole blog “meme”?

  5. Roberta


    Which, in English, sounds like this:

    ” _________________________.”

  6. Callie

    I love this post. Especially since my five year-old is fascinated with language. We talk a LOT about what animal sounds are in French/ Spanish/ German / English. And why. And why languages are sometimes the same, sometimes slightly the same, and sometimes completely different. I’ll be damned if that kid does not make me Google something at LEAST five times a day.

  7. V-Grrrl

    I find it fascinating that across cultures we all teach our toddlers animal sounds.

  8. mari

    I suppose it also depends on how the sounds are pronounced because “hav-hav” spoken in English and in Hebrew must sound totally different.
    In Spanish a dogs bark is heard as “guag-guau” whereas in English it is “woof-woof”- totally different… Buuuuut…The real-ness of the sound totally depends way it is said (preferably with a bit of spittle hanging out of your mouth at the time, although not if you’re a real lady like me, obviously, eh :/). “Woof” is the name of a progamme about a boy who turns into a dog and even his mum and dad don’t know about it. Imagine that same thing about a goat!
    Loving the goat theme you’ve got going on here lately. ;).

  9. treespotter

    actually in Indonesian, it would probably would be “Mbeek” – two e’s – and dogs go “Guk Guk” and geckos go “Tokkee”.
    Geckos are called Toke here because of the sound.

    and, oh cocks go “Kukuruyuk” in the morning. go figure.

  10. JordanBaker

    cats in spanish say “mao.” Stupid commie cats.

  11. Ash

    In Holland cows go ‘boo’ … very peculiar.

  12. Sarcasmom

    How interesting! My grandson is just starting to talk and he will identify animals by their sound, rather than their names.

  13. better safe than sorry

    that goat reminds me of the statute of liberty!
    i never really thought about how they sound, but i love how goat cheese tastes. you seem to have a thing for goats lately, something we should be worried about?

  14. kimananda

    It’s interesting that all of the listed sounds start with a bilabial sound…well, it is interesting to me anyway. It’s my reward for having studied linguistics

  15. Bre

    So… what happens if the goat is born in say Spain, and then is shipped to a zoo in the US? Does he have to learn a whole new language so the other goats can understand him?

  16. Tatyana

    Jordan Baker, thanks for much needed laugh.

    An aside, Neil: don’t ever make a mistake of calling a middle-aged Russian male a goat. It’s like to praise Red Sox in a Queens’ bar.

  17. Sarcasmom

    Hi Neil. I wanted to let you know that I used your post as an inspiration for one of my own.

  18. lizardek

    I was a bit boggled when we moved here to find that Swedish pigs say “nöf nöf”

  19. Dagny

    At least cats sound basically the same in every language. Then again B&N will probably be asking for their own passports soon.

  20. Susan

    I love that Greek dogs say “gav gav.” Great post, Neil!

  21. ACG

    this was one of the really interesting things i learned the season i worked at a zoo with a number of people from all over africa.

  22. Liz

    Did you call me?

  23. Liz

    Sorry, you so sounded like one of my kids….MAAAAAAAAAAAH….there for a second.

  24. tiff

    Well, of all things in this world I never thought I’d see blogged about, this would be one.

    So glad you did, because now I’m feeling smarter just for having read it.

  25. e.

    I never knew camels made much sound at all, but interestly enough, it appears they only speak French and they say, “Le chameau blatère.” Hmm..

    I like the rooster sounds.

  26. mysterygirl!

    In high school Spanish class, we sang a song about going to a farm and hearing the animals. My favorites were the dogs (Gua! Gua!) and the ducks (Cuac! Cuac!).

    We also sang a song about Smurfs (pitufas). No, this wasn’t a special high school.

  27. Heather B.

    What’s with the goats lately? It’s all goats all the time around here..

  28. Melissa

    Do all pussies go meow?

  29. eeekat

    why has no one mentioned the statue of liberty???

  30. claire

    We had to learn animal sounds when I took French in high school.

    For some reason I’ve always remembered that roosters say: cocorico! en francais instead of cockadoodledo!

  31. The Moviequill

    I found a Neenotchka for Neilochka

  32. Rebecca

    This whole thing has me wondering: If you buy a See and Say in oh say, Brazil, does the duck say qua qua or does it still say quack quack?

  33. wordgirl

    I’ve heard a little on this subject but I’ve never seen such a complete list of sounds before. Really interesting.

  34. Sandra

    Ooh! I actually think it’s kind of fascinating too. One of my good friends, who grew up in Japan, makes barking and meowing noises much differently than anyone else I know. It’s a fun thing to have her do when she gets drunk.

    I’m a very nice person.

  35. Pearl

    Goats of the world…UNITE! C’mon *buck the system* ’cause you know there are *horns of plenty* and after a while you can no doubt *bleat* in peace and say “Shofar…so good.”

  36. Lynn

    This makes me want to go play with my neighborhood goats.

  37. Belinda

    We have a sheep ram, about 8 years old, who makes a sound like the loudest, most sudden belch you ever heard in your life. It is seriously horrifying if it happens in the dark.

  38. treespotter

    cats go meong here.

    pigs in sweden are strange.

  39. jaime

    I discovered this when I was in college in Israel. I was trying to tell the story of Peter and the Wolf to a French/Israeli friend of mine and she didn’t know the English word for Sheep. So I tried making the Baa Baa sound and she still didn’t know. That led to a very funny scene of both of us, going down the list of animal sounds in each other’s languages.

    Who knew.

  40. boxen

    Dude. Goats in English go Meh or Mah. Sheep go Bah.

  41. rachh

    Are goats the new ‘black’?

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