Language Hacks: The Funniest Animal Sounds and More in Korean Onomatopoeia

Today I want to about how different animals sound in Korean vs English.

I love comparing onomatopoeia (의성어) because they’re so funny in other languages.

This post also covers objects and people sounds that don’t exist in English.

Let’s check them out!

Funniest Animal Sounds and More in Korean Onomatopoeia
What is onomatopoeia?

Onomatopoeia are words that imitate the sounds they describe.

They’re cultural and differ around the world. It’s only when you start learning another language you realize how cute they are.

Learn the Most Common Korean Words and Phrases

Even though you don’t hear onomatopoeia everyday, they’re a great ice breaker or way to study Korean.

Animal Sounds

Animal sounds are my favorite to compare with English. They’re usually so different (except for the pigeon sound). Onomatopoeia show how much language and culture shape your worldview.

Name (English)SoundName (Korean)Sound
BeeBuzz벌 (beol)윙윙 (wing-wing)
BirdTweet새 (sae)짹짹 (jjack-jjack)
CatMeow고양이 (go-yang-ee)야옹 (ya-ong)
ChickCheep병아리 (byeong-ah-ri)삐악삐악 (bbi-yak-bbi-yak)
Chicken (Hen)Cluck암탉 (am-tak)꼬꼬댁 (kko-kko-deck)
Chicken (Rooster)Cock-a-doodle-doo수탉 (su-tak)꼬끼오 (kko-kki-oh)
Cicada???매미 (mae-mi)맴맴 (maem-maem)
CowMoo소 (so)음메 (um-meh)
DogWoof개 (gae)멍멍 (meong-meong)
DuckQuack오리 (oh-ri)꽥꽥 (quack-quack)
FrogRibbit개구리 (gae-gu-ri)개굴개굴 (gae-gul-gae-gul)
HorseNeigh말 (mal)히히힝 (hee-hee-hing)
MouseSqueak쥐 (jwi)찍찍 (jjik-jjik)
OwlHoo부엉이 (bu-eong-ee)부엉 부엉 (bu-eong-bu-eong)
PigOink돼지 (dwae-ji)꿀꿀 (kkul-kkul)
PigeonCoo Coo비둘기 (bi-dul-gi)구구 (goo-goo)
RabbitThump토끼 (to-kki)깡총깡총 (kkang-chong-kkang-chong)
SheepBaa양 (yang)메에 (meh-eh)
TigerGrowl호랑이 (ho-rang-ee)어흥 (eo-heung)

Object Sounds

Boiling waterBubble Bubble끓는 물 (ggeul-neun-mul)부글 부글 (boo-geul-boo-geul)
ClockTick Tock시계 (shi-gye)째깍째깍 (jjae-kkak-jjae-kkak)
HonkHonk Honk경적 (gyeong-jeok)빵빵 (bbang-bbang)
PhoneRing ring전화 (jeon-hwa)따르릉 (tta-reu-reung)
Rain Pitter Patter비 (bee)후두두 (hoo-doo-doo)
SizzleSizzle Sizzle지글지글 (ji-geul-ji-geul)지글지글 (ji-geul-ji-geul)
SplashSplash첨벙 (cheom-beong)첨벙 (cheom-beong)
TrainChoo Choo기차 (gi-cha)칙칙폭폭 (chik-chik-pok-pok)

People Sounds

Being in a Hurry/Confused???서두르다 (seo-du-reu-da)헐레 벌떡 (heol-le-beol-tteok)
ClapClap Clap박수 (bak-su)짝짝 (jjak-jjak)
CryingBoo Hoo우는 소리 (woo-neun-so-ri)엉엉 (eong-eong)
Eating HappilyNom Nom먹는 소리 (meok-neun-so-ri)냠냠냠 (nyam-nyam-nyam)
HeartbeatLub Dub심장 박동 (sim-jang-bak-dong)두근두근 (du-geun-du-geun)
KnockKnock Knock노크 (no-keu)똑똑똑 (ttok-ttok-ttok)
MumbleMumble Mumble중얼중얼 (jung-eol-jung-eol)중얼중얼 (jung-eol-jung-eol)
SnoringZzzz자는 소리 (ja-neun-so-ri)쿨쿨 (cool-cool)
TapTap Tap톡톡 (tok-tok)톡톡 (tok-tok)

Learning Korean

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Now it’s your turn

I want to hear from you.

Let us know which Korean onomatopoeia we missed in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Language Hacks: The Funniest Animal Sounds and More in Korean Onomatopoeia”

  1. Hello Minjung-nim,

    As an expat who got here just shy of three months, I’m delighted to read the articles on your website, and I can’t believe it is 3:00 am in the morning and I am still reading them with delight! This is a great website, and I wish I knew about your site before leaving the States. Again, thank you for the wonderful information, and it is truly enjoyable reading them!

    • Hello Raymond-nim,

      Thank you so much! I appreciate it and so glad you like the blog.^^
      Let us know some topics you’re interested in and hope you enjoy your time in Korea.


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