Kuckeliku! 10 animal noises that sound different in Swedish

What noise does a rooster make? "cockadoodledoo" of course, but not in Sweden. Instead, Swedes think cockerels are partial to wailing "kuckeliku", one of many differences in opinion over animal onomatopoeia that can be encountered after moving to the Nordic nation. Here are 10 more to help you argue with Swedish friends.

Kuckeliku! 10 animal noises that sound different in Swedish
"Kuckeliku", as they say in Sweden. Photo: Jurek Holzer/TT

1. Pigs

In the English language it's universally accepted that pigs say “oink, oink”, but let's be honest, that's a bit of a stretch. The Swedish representation of the animal's sound, “nöff nöff”, probably comes closer to capturing their snuffling – to these ears at least.

2. Horses

Horses “neigh” in English, but in Sweden they're seemingly much better with their lips, as they say “gnägg”. Not convinced.

3. Dogs…

In English, dogs “woof”. In Swedish, they “voff” or “vov”, so we can more or less agree on this one. Except when it comes to smaller dogs…

4. …particularly yappy dogs

Because apparently, high-pitched, yappy dogs in Sweden “bjäbb”. Yes, that's right, “bjäbb”. We're not making this up. Here's the proof.

5. Frogs

Frogs “croak” in English, and if we're being fair that doesn't sound entirely accurate, but they most certainly do not say “kväk” or “kvack”, which apparently the Swedes have convinced themselves into believing.

6. Cats

In English, cats “meow”. In Swedish, they “mjau”. It's definitely closer than the Japanese description of a cat's noise – “nyaa, nyaa”.

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7. Mice

Real mice “squeak”. Swedish mice “pip”. So close, yet so far…

8. Bears

In Sweden the bears “brum” (the person in the video below even named their World of Warcraft character after the sound). In the UK they don't have a widely agreed onomatopoeic noise, perhaps owing to the fact that they've been extinct on the British isles for a long time now…

9. Ducks

In English, ducks “quack”. In Swedish, they “kvack”, which seems reasonable enough, at least compared to some of the previous examples (horses, I'm looking at you).

READ ALSO: Six tips for learning Swedish without even being in Sweden

10. Humans

What isn't reasonable enough is this noise made exclusively by Sweden's humans – by far the oddest species – seemingly in order to keep conversations as short as possible. This will never become normal to these international ears.