Animal noises from around the world: cock-a-doodle-doo

Following on from my previous blog posts on animal noises around the world, this week’s victim is the cockerel.


The crowing of a rooster is an especially distinctive sound. Each language has tried to capture the undulating call to varying degrees of success.

A Cockerel
A Cockerel

In English the somewhat archaic ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’ has a long history of use. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymescock-a-doodle-doo’ first appeared in print in a pamphlet in 1606 (Chambers Dictionary of Etymology gives an earlier date of 1573). It can also be found in the nursery rhyme ‘Cock-a-doodle doo, What is my Dame to do?’ which was printed in Mother Goose’s Melody in c.1765. The same sound appears in the 1853 English translation of the Brothers Grimm Household Stories in the tale of ‘Old Mother Frost’ (Frau Holle) and also in ‘The Musicians of Bremen’ (in the original German it is ‘kikeriki’).

In Frenchcocorico’ is used. The French have very strong associations with the cock, as the Gallic rooster is a national symbol. Thus the French sometimes use the cry of ‘cocorico’ to cheer on the French sporting sides. This sound seems to be a fairly good approximation of a rooster’s crow as similar sounds are used in many languages, for example Greekkeekeereekou’, Croatiankukuriku’ and Russiankukareku’. Japanese uses ‘kokekokko’, Swahilikukrikukuu’, Dutchkukelekuu’, Spanishkikiriki’, Italianchicchirichi’ and Swedishkuckeliku’.

A few languages demonstrate a completely different interpretation of the sound – in Mandarin a rooster is said to say ‘wo wo wo’ and in Thai it is ‘egg-e-egg-egg’ –despite this anomaly it is interesting to note that the rooster’s crow is one of the few animal noises that seems to have a general linguistic consensus across the globe.

What noise do you use for a cockerel? Please leave a comment!