Animal Sounds in Italian – Learn Italian Animal vocabulary!

In today’s article we are going to cover a topic that is not related to grammar, that many don’t know, but it’s still quite interesting, namely: verbs to indicate the sounds of animals, at least the most famous ones. Let’s get it started!

 Most famous animals’ sounds

  • the dog: abbaia (abbaiare) (barks). A common saying where the dog is the protagonist is: “can che abbaia, non morde!” (barking dogs never bite)
  • the cat: miagola (miagolare) (meows). Another common expression is: “essere come cane e gatto” (to be at each other’s throats) and it’s used to indicate two people who don’t get along and always argue!
  • the wolf: ulula (ululare) (howls). The wolf is the famous antagonist of the tale “Cappuccetto Rosso” (Red Riding Hood), and a very popular expression involving the animal is: “Il lupo perde il pelo, ma non il vizio” (a leopard cannot change its spots) /in the English counterpart the leopard replaces the wolf/, which means that it’s very difficult to eliminate bad habits!
  • the lion/the tiger: ruggisce (ruggire) (roars)
  • the turkey: gloglotta (gloglottare) (gobbles)
  •  the rabbit: ziga (zigare) (squeaks)
  •  the elephant: barrisce (barrire) (trumpets)
  • the bear: ruglia (rugliare) (growls)
  • the horse: nitrisce (nitrire) (whinnies/neighs) In Italy, there’s a famous saying involving the horse, namely: “A caval donato non si guarda in bocca!” (don’t look a gift horse in the mouth). This expression means that judging the quality of something that has been given to us, as a gift, is rude and could be backfiring, since it might be useful in the future!
  • the donkey : raglia (ragliare) (brays)
  • the giraffe: landisce (landire) (bleats)
  • the peacock: paupula (paupulare) (screams)
  • the cow: muggisce (muggire) (bellows)
  • the duck: starnazza (starnazzare) (squaws)
  • the goose: schiamazza (schiamazzare) (clucks)
  • the hen: chioccia (chiocciare) (squaws). There’s a nice saying with this animal as protagonist: “meglio un uovo oggi che una gallina domani(a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush). This saying suggests you to settle for what you have, rather than renouncing and risking to lose it for something you could get in the future, but without certainty!
  • the rooster: canta (cantare) (sings)
  • the chick: pigola (pigolare) (cheeps)
  • the eagle/ the hawk: grida/ stride (gridare/stridere) (screeches)
  • the canary: canta (cantare) (sings)
  • the winged insect: ronza (ronzare) (buzzes)

And last but not least… we have the turtle… what’s the sound of the turtle? The turtle has no sound!

Alright, we’re done for today, but before you go, write us what your favorite animals and sounds are. Besides as you can read, there are several expressions involving animals, but if you want to learn new ones, then you can watch our video about Italian sayings!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

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