Why do languages have different sounds for the same animals?

If you grew up in an English-speaking country, you likely learned at a young age that cats say “meow,” dogs say “woof,” and roosters say “cock-a-doodle-doo.”

But if you’d grown up in Japan, you would’ve learned entirely different words for these sounds. In Japan, cats say “nyan,” dogs say “wan,” and roosters say “ko-ke-kok-ko-o.”

But ask a French speaker how these animals sound, and you’ll receive another answer entirely. There, cats say “miaou,” dogs say “ouah,” and roosters are known for their early-morning “cocorico.”

How can the same animals sound so different in other countries? The truth is, they don’t. While some animals of the same species may sound different depending on where you are, for the most part, it’s not the animals that are different — it’s us. In fact, the names we assign to these grunts, cries and snorts reveal more about us than the animals that utter them.

Read more: Mother Nature Network

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