This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Thing Not To Do Today: crow.

It wasn't until last week that I finally realised that you don't need to have flounces on your clothes in order to flounce off.

No sooner had I sorted that out, though, than a new question formed itself in my head. I found myself wondering - the window was open - why don't crows crow?

Cockerels* crow cock-a-doodle-doo. Babies crow in a sort of rising-and-falling coo. If an adult crows he's boasting of his own superiority (which in England is not only irritating and insensitive but also inexcusably bad manners).

But crows? They don't crow at all. They croak, or caw. I spent quite a lot of the time in the dark reaches of last night listening to them, so I can be quite definite about it.

Sometimes I think that someone really ought to sort out this sort of language anomaly.

But that's only in the dark reaches of the night, when I'm trying to get some flipping sleep.

File:Happy Baby.jpg
Photo wikimedia commons by George Keith from Medford, MA, USA

Thing Not To Do Today: crow. The word for making a noise comes from the Old English crāwen; the word for the bird comes from the Old English crāwa. So I should imagine that the crow/crow  question is one that people have been asking for a long time.

*I think in the USA you call a cockerel a rooster, even though the thing a cockerel is most famous for is not roosting anything like long enough.


  1. Rooster/cockerel are lovely words, aren't they? And yes, why crow? Most odd.

    1. I'll have a look at the history of both words and see if there's any clue there. Or perhaps I'll just write a new fable: How the Crow lost his Voice!

  2. Perhaps everyone who crows should eat crow.