Listen to the author reading this blog post:
by Liz Walter
My last post looked at replacing the common verb ‘say’ with more interesting verbs that can convey information about a speaker’s emotions or personality. This post continues that theme, this time concentrating on verbs that are used for animal noises.
Several animal verbs are used to denote anger, for example roar for loud shouting or growl for low-pitched, rough speech. If someone snarls, they speak in an angry and rather frightening way. If their speech is quiet but sudden and threatening, we could say that they hiss like a snake. Note that these verbs, like all the others in this post, can be used as nouns too:
“Give me the money!” he roared.
He informed her with a growl that he was leaving.
“You’ll regret this!” she snarled.
“Don’t you dare say anything!” she instructed with an angry hiss.
“Do I really have to jump?” she squeaked.
“I need a doctor,” he croaked.
Bird noises often indicate happiness. For example, chirp and trill both describe a high, happy voice. If someone cackles like a hen, they laugh in a loud, unpleasant voice, while if they crow, they talk in a triumphant or boastful way:
“What beautiful flowers!” he chirped.
“I must introduce you to Mark,” she trilled.
I found the women cackling over a photograph of Nina in her gym gear.
“I won all my matches,” he crowed.
Staying with the bird theme, a person who clucks like a chicken shows a lot of sympathy or worry about someone or something – often rather too much – and someone who coos like a pigeon speaks in a soft, loving way:
“Make sure you get plenty of rest,” she clucked.
“We belong together,” he cooed.
She barked at us to get ready immediately.
We sat next to a group of braying young men.
I understood his grunt to mean agreement.
“I’m hungry,” she bleated.
Finally, someone who speaks in a quiet, low voice, often because they are happy or satisfied or because they want to persuade someone to do something might be described as purring like a cat:
“You’re so kind,” she purred.
Does your language have any other animal noises that are used for humans?