What do we call the sound a goat makes?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mysina, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. mysina Senior Member

    Hello. What do we call the sound a goat makes? What about a horse? How would you complete this sentence? Thanks for your answers.

    ´Woof, woof!´ went the dog. ´....´ went the goat. ´....´ went the horse.
  2. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    The best thing I can come up with is "bleat."
  3. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    Some website regarding onomatopoeia confirmed what Miss Julie said.


    1. to utter or play loudly or harshly, 2. the natural cry of a sheep, goat or calf 3. to talk complainingly or in a whining tone of voice
  4. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    I'll second Miss Julie

    Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 Oxford University Press:
    • 1 (of a sheep or goat) make a characteristic weak, wavering cry.
    • 2 speak or complain in a weak or foolish way.

    Regards from an "old goat," (which is what we sometimes call crusty old guys. ;))
  5. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    "Meeh, meeh", I would think, though others suggest "Naa, naa". The verb is to bleat.
  6. mysina Senior Member

    What about these?

    ´....´ went the hen.
    ´....´ went the horse.
  7. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    "Buc buc," said the chicken, you're trying to buck the system.
    "Nay, nay," said the horse, you can't ask that, of course.

    One animal per thread and this one's devoted to goats.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The answer cannot be bleat.
    OK, so a goat may bleat, in the same way that a dog barks. But that is irrelevant.
    The question is asking about the sound a goat makes, so in the same way that the dog went "Woof, woof", the goat went...?

    Speaking as an expert on the topic of animal noises, as anyone who spends a lot of time with small children must be, I can assure you that the goat went "Maa! Maa!", or something similar.
    This is distinct from the sheep on the previous page of the book, which of course says "Baa!".
    Source: The Very Busy Spider, Eric Carle - the guy who created The Hungry Caterpillar.
  9. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think I prefer Keith's spelling on this. 'Maa' suggests that it is the same vowel as 'Baa', which (for me certainly) it isn't. The vowel is closer to the one in met, and it has to be nasalised in some way - in a kind of a trill that I cannot describe properly! :( (Is there such a thing as a trilled vowel?)
  10. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    I've deleted this twice now; maybe it is time to let it stand: Meh-eh-eh! Meh-eh-eh!

    EDIT: the hyphens standing for laryngeal stops.

    (Nasal, as natkretep said.)
  11. Destruida Senior Member

    English (England)
    That's it. :)
  12. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Ah, yes, not a trill. Laryngeal stops. Thanks, PW!
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Much better - glad I included the "or something similar" above :)

    That's exactly how I pronounce the goat sound.
    For typographical convenience, I would write it as "Meh!".

    I think the sheep's "Baa!" gets the same laryngeal stop treatment.
  14. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    The goats round here, lovely small white animals, nannies, make a sharper shorter sound than is suggested by Meh-eh-eh!

    It's not much more than a very faint m followed by a short sharp schwa. Meh! would do best, I think.
  15. mysina Senior Member

    Thanks a lot for your answers. You really helped me. I think I should buy a children´s book about animals :)
  16. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    English - US (Midwest)
    Maa is the way I've always seen it in print.
  17. MirandaEscobedo Senior Member

    London UK
    British English
    Although such representations of animal sounds are supposed to be onomatopoeic, there are surprising cultural variations. At the risk of being anecdotal -- and breaking the goats-only rubric -- I was once asking in a Turkish shop whether they had any yoghurt made from sheep's milk. First, the man behind the counter said "Sheep? It is all very inexpensive." I tried again: "No, I mean sheep, the animal - baa-baa." "Oh you mean veh-veh. No, we are sold out." Of course this could also mean that Turkish sheep make different sounds. Or maybe he was referring to goat's milk!
  18. MothrCluckr81

    MothrCluckr81 New Member

    I just joined this page, while searching for the sound a goat makes, and I so enjoyed the answers that I had to join the group and the comversation...having gotten a baby goat recently, we were discussing the sound she makes and while reading the post, I (of course) made the sounds out loud while reading, to be certain that they were accurate. ;) And I must say that the "Meh, Meh" with the laryngeal stop and the nasal sound are quite accurate!
    Good job folks! lol
    Of course, while reading this, my baby goat, a diaper-wearing housegoat, gave me strange looks and 'answered' me while I was reading this thread. Hahaha (<--the sound a happy human makes when expressing joy):D
  19. johngiovanni

    johngiovanni Senior Member

    The last goat my great-grandson fed at the local "Animal Farm" for kids said "behhhh" when we were feeding it and something like "mmeeeeeeeehh!" as we walked away. It sounded like he was complaining.
    There is some research which suggests that when sheep and goats yell loudly they drop their larynx, and this creates a longer space in the pharynx, making them sound more human.

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