Friday, 6 November 2009

Talking dogs

(c) New Yorker

I mentioned  my auntie’s (RIP) conviction that there was some kind of weird rule in the universe: you don’t hear about something for ages, you may not even know about it, then you hear about it all over the place.
Another one today!  Just this morning talking to my son as to whether dogs could speak.  I asked him to discuss the issue with our Weimaraner, to see if dogs really could speak but simply didn’t;  whether they spoke, but only in doggie language; or if they didn’t speak at all cause they couldn’t.  In the course of his investigations into the issue, he looked up “speak” in the dictionary and it seems that speaking involves “words”, which would seem to rule out dogs. Then our Weimaraner pointed out that it depends on what you mean by “words”. 
Then this afternoon, as if on my auntie’s cue from heaven, the following quote from Joe (Burnaby, BC), in the “Leopard Behind you”:
“ Dogs can talk. One only has to understand the vocabulary.”
This all in the search for an article on facial expressions and how they can affect your mood (instead of the mood affecting your facial expression).  The idea being that just in the act of smiling you may feel happier.  Though one hesitates to wander round with a face contorted into a rictus, in the attempt to elevate one’s mood.  Found it here  by Olivia Judson, who goes on to say that one’s moods may be different depening on which language you’re speaking.  And certainly speaking Italian does raise the spirit, wot, with all it’s uninhibited arm waving.  She has a follow up here.
Ms Judson mentions German.  Reminds me of the pom on our little yacht crossing the Atlantic a few years ago.  He said that the war was all a big misunderstanding based on the sound of German.  They hadn’t been declaring war, just asking the Brits over for a beer….
Son contemplates our Weimaraner talking and people being amazed.  Son says he’d say  “well, yeah, he can talk, but his grammar’s shocking…”.  (Recalling the old Larsen cartoon with a dog mowing the lawn, but not in really straight lines; guest comments in amazement “my goodness, you dog can mow the lawn!”  “Yes,” says the dog’s owner, “but look at what a dreadful job he does…”)