Thursday, June 23, 2016

Storybook Tress and How to say 'Meow'

London is a land full of magical, storybook trees!

These trees look like something someone would make up and include in a fantastical illustration of a beautiful, bizarre imaginary world. These tree's were spotted near a cute street market full of bright flowers and wandering families.

I found this sign that says 'Eglon Mews' near the market too. My cat's name is Mue Mue, pronounced the same as Mew (times two!). So of course I got a little homesick for my sweet and feisty cats. I had never heard the term mew before. But after some research, I've discovered it doesn't have a thing to do with cats. Mews are stables or carriage houses that are sometimes converted into housing. So if someone from England heard me call to my cat, it would sound like his name was 'Stable House Stable House.'

I learned recently from a coworker that in France, a cat's main sound is pronounced 'Mue Mue' instead of the meow we use in the states.The spelling is different though, it is spelled miaou. But I also read somewhere that in French, mue (with this spelling) means molt to make room for new growth. This gives my cat's name a whole new philosophical meaning. Molt to make room for growth, then molt again for making room for more growth. It is a good metaphor for life.

I investigated how different humans across the world make cat sounds. Most of them are pretty similar. Meow seemed to be common. Also it seems like most of the world agrees that cat's start their chatter with an M sound. Examples are in Italian cats say miao and in Chinese they say meu-meu. But Korea is very unique in how they interpret the sound of a speaking cat. The word Koreans use is yaong. 

Dogs seem to have more variety in the way they communicate in different languages. Even in English, we use many different sounds to imitate the sound a dog: Woof, Bark, Ruff, Arf and the wildly underused, slightly antiquated Bow-wow!

In Dutch, dogs say 'Blaf.' German dogs say 'wuff or wau.' Turkish dos say 'hev.' In Japan, dogs say 'Wan.' Interestingly, Korean dogs make more of a universal cat sound. They say 'meong.'

It was windy and chilly on the day I was at the market, but it was fun to wander and watch the interesting place full of interesting people. Despite the gray in the sky and the cold of the air, the place was cheerful with colors and light and a different sort of warmth.

Sources for animal speak:

Grissom, Stacie. "How To "Woof" In 16 Different Languages." BarkPost. Bark Post, 29 Mar. 2013. Web. 23 June 2016. <>.

Chapman, James, and Robin Edds. "What Noises Do Animals Make In Other Languages? Here Is An Important Guide." BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed, 16 Oct. 2013. Web. 23 June 2016. <>.

Shivakumar, Vivaek. "How Do Humans Vocalize the Sound a Cat Makes, in Different Languages?" Quora. Quora, 3 Feb. 2013. Web. 23 June 2016. <>.


Optimistic Existentialist said...

Yes that is true about here in Germany "wuff" :) and they call dogs a Hund!

Amber said...

Good, when I visit Germany I will know how to properly greet all the hunds I meet!