The proper term is “cross-linguistic onomatopoeia,” but James Chapman just calls them “sounds in other languages”: from the crying of a baby in Spanish (buá buá), the crowing of a rooster in French (cocorico),  the clicking of a camera in Russian (shchyolk) and the ringing of a telephone in Italian (drin drin), Wikipedia has an exhaustive list of words describing noises from around the world.

If an exhaustive list isn’t what you’re in the mood for, you can always hop over to James Chapman‘s site, where he posts cute illustrations of splash, plouf, zabun (that’s summertime splashing) every week. Our favorite is the International Guide to Shutting People Up.

Oh, and to answer the question — in Germany, the trumpeting of an elephant sounds like this: töröö!


What Does a German Elephant Say? Translating Onomatopoeia
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