While teaching a unit on animals to my first and second grade class I thought it would be a useful exercise to hold up flash cards and ask the kids to make the sound of the chosen wildlife. Simple, right? Well, not as simple as one might assume. As I quickly learned, onomatopoeia is not a universal language. For instance, a dog in Korea says “Mong Mong,” a bird says “Chick Chick,” and a frog doesn’t “Ribbit ” but instead says “Kay-goo Kay-goo.” A Korean horse sounds pretty much the same, as does a cat. Cross-cultural pigs would probably be understood too, but an English speaking rooster might be surprised to hear his Korean counterpart, who doesn’t “Cock-a-doodle” but instead “Kook-a-rees.” Korean bees don’t buzz but they do go “Yang Yang Yang,” which is probably equally terrifying for someone afraid of getting stung. All in all the animal sound lesson was one of the unexpected moments of perspective that have made this trip so worthwhile. Simply put, the dog park will never sound the same.
Ever wonder what a Russian owl sounds like? How ’bout a Spanish duck? If so, check out this website, bzzzpeek.com