A World of Animal Noises Online at Bzzzpeek

The Web site Bzzzpeek.com records onomatopoetic animal sounds ("Moo" or "Ribbet") as children from all over the world express them. Interpretations of animal sounds differ from country to country, because the onomatopoeia of languages differs. Agathe Jacquillat and Tomi Vollauschek talk about the site they created.

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A Web site called Bzzzpeek--that's B-Z-Z-Z peek--.com demonstrates how animal sounds can differ around the world. The creators are Agathe Jacquillat and Tomi Vollauschek, who join us from our studios in London.

Thanks very much for being with us.

Ms. AGATHE JACQUILLAT (bzzzpeek.com): Thank you.

Mr. TOMI VOLLAUSCHEK (bzzzpeek.com): Thanks for having us.

SIMON: Let's not delay. I want to listen to some frogs. Now in this country, we like to say that frogs go, `Ribbit.' Let's see if that's borne out firstly by a British frog.

(Soundbite of a child making frog sounds)

SIMON: Yeah, he's got kind of a nicer accent. But let me try a Japanese frog.

(Soundbite of a child making frog sounds)

SIMON: Who are making those sounds?

Ms. JACQUILLAT: Mainly children, from three- to seven-year-olds that we interviewed, and people have been submitting sound over the Internet as well.

SIMON: Let's hear the French frog.

(Soundbite of a child making frog sounds)

SIMON: We should explain, on your Web site, you have--for example, you click on a frog, and there is a whole sequence of frogs with national banners.

Mr. VOLLAUSCHEK: Yeah, that's right.

SIMON: OK. So here's a German frog.

(Soundbite of a child making frog sounds)

SIMON: Oh, mercy. They sound like they mean business.

Let's listen to a Pakistani frog.

(Soundbite of a child making frog sounds)

SIMON: (Laughing) All right. Is that different from a Greek frog?

(Soundbite of a child making frog sounds)

SIMON: It sure is different from a Greek frog.

(Soundbite of a child making frog sounds)

SIMON: Could that just be a difference in national diet?

Ms. JACQUILLAT: What are you eating in America?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: All right. Well--but now, let me click on the pigs, a good British pig like Babe.

(Soundbite of a child making pig sounds)

SIMON: A Japanese pig.

(Soundbite of a child making pig sounds)

SIMON: Now let's try a Polish pig.

(Soundbite of a child making pig sounds)

SIMON: Now that sounds like a pig. I mean, these people...

(Soundbite of a child making pig sounds)

SIMON: That's a kid kind of imitating a pig.

(Soundbite of a child making pig sounds)

SIMON: This sounds like a pig as opposed to a child.

Mr. VOLLAUSCHEK: Sometimes when they are older--five, six, seven--we end up having sounds like those proper imitations.

(Soundbite of a child making pig sounds)

SIMON: This child has a gift.

(Soundbite of a child making pig sounds)

SIMON: Was this a lot of fun?

Ms. JACQUILLAT: Definitely--for both, for us and for the kids, I suppose.

Mr. VOLLAUSCHEK: Try the Japanese snake. It's quite an extraordinary sound, actually.

SIMON: All right, the Japanese snake...

Mr. VOLLAUSCHEK: Because all the others sound like S sounds...

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. VOLLAUSCHEK: ...while the Japanese is just completely different.

SIMON: OK. All right. The Japanese snake.

(Soundbite of a child making snake sounds)

SIMON: My word.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Is that true, do you think.


Mr. VOLLAUSCHEK: Certainly. I double-checked.

(Soundbite of a child making snake sounds)

SIMON: Mercy. What about the lion? Is that worth hearing?

Mr. VOLLAUSCHEK: Kids are really and truly realistic about the lion. I think they--it's a good warming-up sound.

SIMON: The lion, of course, the national symbol of Great Britain.

(Soundbite of a child making lion sounds)

SIMON: (Laughing) There's a little British theater.

(Soundbite of a child making lion sounds)

SIMON: (Laughing) Sounds like he believes that utterly and absolutely.

What convinced you there was a crying need for this Web site?

Mr. VOLLAUSCHEK: Well, we run a design studio for visual communication. And it's a good challenge for us to come up with fun projects like this one. So...

Ms. JACQUILLAT: Well, I've been actually surprised that it didn't exist.

SIMON: It's interesting--you don't have the old Stars and Bars. You don't have American animals on this Web site.

Ms. JACQUILLAT: No, we never had any submission from American people.

SIMON: Oh, you're kidding me? There are kids all over the United States who would love to make animal noises on your Web site.

Ms. JACQUILLAT: (Laughing) Well, we'd love to have America.

SIMON: So people just come to B-Z-Z-Z peek.com?

Mr. VOLLAUSCHEK: That's right. We pronounce it bzzzpeek.

Unidentified Child. Bzzzpeek.

SIMON: It's been a pleasure to talk to you.

Mr. VOLLAUSCHEK: Thanks so much.

Ms. JACQUILLAT: Thank you.

SIMON: Agathe Jacquillat and Tomi Vollauschek. They are the creators of bzzzpeek--B-Z-Z-Z peek--.com.

(Soundbite of music)


SIMON: I'm Scott Simon.

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