Woof Woof: Dog Barks in Different Languages

Woof is the conventional representation in the English language of the barking of a dog. As with other examples of onomatopoeia or imitative sounds, other cultures “hear” the dog’s barks differently and represent them in their own ways. Some of the equivalents of “woof” in other European and Asian languages are as follows:

  • English – woof, woof; ruff, ruff; arf, arf (large dogs and also the sound of sea lions); yap, yap; yip, yip (small dogs), bow wow
  • Afrikaans – blaf, blaf; woef, woef; keff, keff (small dogs)
  • Albanian – ham, ham
  • Arabic – hau, hau; how how (هو ,هو)
  • Armenian -haf, haf
  • Basque – au, au; txau, txau (small dogs); zaunk, zaunk (large dogs); jau, jau (old dogs)
  • Balinese – kong, kong
  • Bengali – gheu, gheu; bhao, bhao
  • Bulgarian – bau-bau (бау-бау); jaff, jaff (джаф-джаф)
  • Brazilian Portuguese – au au
  • Burmese – woke, woke
  • Catalan – bau, bau; bub, bub
  • Chinese, Cantonese – wow, wow (汪汪)
  • Chinese, Mandarin – wang, wang
  • Croatian – vau, vau
  • Czech – haf, haf; štěk (the bark itself)
  • Danish – vov, vuf
  • Dutch – waf, waf; woef, woef
  • Esperanto – boj, boj
  • Estonian – auh, auh
  • Finnish – hau, hau; vuh, vuh; rauf, rauf
  • French – waouh, waouh; ouahn, ouahn; vaf, vaf; wouf, wouf; wouaf, wouaf; jappe jappe
  • German – wuff, wuff; wau, wau; rawrau, rawrau
  • Greek – ghav, ghav (γαβ, γαβ)
  • Hebrew – hav, hav; hau, hau
  • Hindi – bow, bow
  • Hungarian – vau, vau
  • Icelandic – voff, voff
  • Indonesian – guk, guk
  • Irish – amh, amh
  • Italian – bau, bau
  • Japanese – wan-wan (ワンワン); kyan-kyan (キャンキャン)
  • Korean – meong, meong (멍멍, pronounced [mʌŋmʌŋ])
  • Latvian – vau, vau
  • Lithuanian – au, au
  • Macedonian – av, av
  • Malay – gong, gong (“menggonggong” means barking)
  • Marathi – bhu, bhu; bho, bho
  • Norwegian – voff, voff or boff
  • Persian – vogh, vogh
  • Polish – hau, hau
  • Portuguese – au, au; ão-ão (nasal diphthong); béu-béu (toddler language); cain-cain (whining)
  • Romanian – ham, ham; hau, hau
  • Russian – gav, gav (гав-гав); tyav, tyav (тяв-тяв, small dogs)
  • Serbian – av, av
  • Sinhala – සිංහල – buh, buh
  • Slovak – haf, haf; hau, hau
  • Slovene – hov, hov
  • Spanish – guau-guau; gua, gua; jau, jau
  • Swedish – voff, voff; vov, vov; bjäbb, bjäbb
  • Tagalog – aw, aw; baw, baw
  • Tamil – wal wal
  • Thai – โฮ่ง โฮ่ง (pronounced [hôŋhôŋ]); บ๊อก บ๊อก (pronounced [bɔ́kbɔ́k])
  • Turkish – hev hev; hav, hav
  • Ukrainian – гав, гав (hau, hau); дзяв, дзяв (dzyau, dzyau)
  • Urdu – bow bow
  • Vietnamese – gâu gâu; ẳng ẳng
  • Welsh – wff, wff
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