This is specifically about verbs not onomatopoeia.

I understand that you can say 「(動物)は(音)という」, e.g. 「犬がワンという」。But beyond that I've come to two words 吠える and 鳴く, which both seam to be generalised animal noised. I want help understanding these and to know if there are any more and what do they mean.

I've sorta come to understand 吠える is more of a loud shouting noise while 鳴く is more of a soft noise.

So am i right for the following:

Dog barks. (吠える [or 鳴く?])

Cat purrs. (鳴く)

Bird tweets. (鳴く)

Lion roars (吠える)

Wolf Howls (吠える)

Elephant toots (鳴く?)

Horse neighs (鳴く?)

Also I've also come across some other verbs: さえずる (chirp) and さわぐ (make noise).

is さえずる purely for birds?

and i take it さわぐ has a negative connotation like mentioned in the other question i looked at?

What other verbs can be used to explain animal noises?

Related: Does 「鳴く」 give any nuances about the sound being made?


1 Answer 1


I think we usually say like...

犬が(ワンワン・キャンキャン etc.)吠える・鳴く

猫が(ニャーニャー etc.)鳴く・(ゴロゴロ)[喉]{のど}を鳴らす

鳥が(ピーピー・チュンチュン etc.)鳴く・さえずる (+ maybe 歌う?)






Is さえずる purely for birds?

Yes, I think so... and you'd use it for pleasant/cute/lovely voices of birds. For example, you might say 「[烏]{からす}が(カーカー)鳴く」 but not 「烏が(カーカー)さえずる」.

I take it さわぐ has a negative connotation...

Right, さわぐ is often used for noisy or unpleasant sounds (...but not always. For example, I don't think 「こずえが風にさわぐ」「木の葉がさわぐ」 necessarily carry a negative connotation).

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