Giving your husband’s face a smack has a drastically different meaning in France than it does elsewhere. Instead of the ‘mwah’ sound Americans use to mimic kissing, French people opt for the sound of a word synonymous with slapping and heroin. And kissing is but one of many noisemaking actions that translate differently around the world.
While some words have no English translation, these activities are universal–like drinking, eating, and feeling pain–and they tend to have representative noises. Now, physics PhD and illustrator James Chapman has created a series of posters that reveal how all the various types of humans sound off in their native tongues during common life experiences. It’s an eye-opening guide to the noises we all make, even when our eyes are closed. (In Belgium, apparently, snoring sounds like ‘hurrrrr’.) Have a look through the slides above for more sound-words from around the world.