Introduction: In English, cows ‘moo’ and dogs say ‘woof’, and other languages have similar onomatopoeic verbs for the sounds made by various animals. The ancient Roman examples are not only interesting in themselves, they provide useful practice in the sounds of classical Latin, since many of the identifications are obvious, but only when the word is pronounced correctly, with hard c, soft v, rolled r, and the long and short vowels properly distinguished. (For the pronunciation of classical Latin, the best authority is W. S. Allen, Vox Latina, 2nd ed., Cambridge, 1978.)

Instructions: Match the Latin animal names (1-21) in the center column with the English translations (a-u) on the left and the (Latin) animal noises (a-u) on the right.

Answer Key: None is provided. The animal names will be listed in any Latin dictionary, the sounds in any unabridged dictionary. Where the spellings differ, as they often do, I have followed the Oxford Latin Dictionary.

English Name:         


Latin Sound:
a. ass, donkey ____       1. apis ____    a. bālat
b. bear ____ 2. asinus ____ b. barrit
c. bee ____ 3. bōs ____ c. bombit, bombilat
d. cock, rooster ____ 4. canis ____ d. coaxat
e. cow ____ 5. corvus ____ e. crocitat
f. crow ____ 6. cucūlus ____ f. cuculat
g. cuckoo ____ 7. elephāns ____ g. cūcurrit
h. dog ____ 8. equus ____ h. drindit
i. elephant ____ 9. gallus ____ i. fremit, rugit
j. frog ____ 10. infāns ____ j. grunnit, grundit
k. horse ____ 11. leō ____ k. hinnit
l. human baby ____ 12. lupus ____ l. lātrat
m. lion ____ 13. mūs ____ m. mintrit, pipitat
n. mouse ____ 14. mustēla ____ n. mūgit
o. pig ____ 15. ovis ____ o. pipiat
p. sheep ____ 16. passer ____ p. rancat
q. snake ____ 17. porcus ____ q. rugit, oncat
r. sparrow ____ 18. rāna ____ r. sībilat
s. tiger ____ 19. serpēns ____ s. ululat
t. weasel ____ 20. tigris ____ t. uncat, saevit
u. wolf ____ 21. ursus ____ u. vāgit

© M. Hendry 1998 This page may be printed out and reproduced ad libitum for non-profit paedagogical purposes, as long as proper credit is given.