Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Do Dogs Speak French?

I'm sorry everyone, I can't help it. You see, I drift about my house and my life with nobody but the Loyal Hound to bounce my thoughts off. Most of the time this isn't problematic. He has a charming habit of agreeing with everything I say, and looking at me with a worshipful gleam in his eye the rest of the time. He's an excellent listener. However, every now and then (or every ten minutes or so) I have a crazy thought which I want an actual response to, and this is where you come in.

You see, most of the time I resist plaguing you with inane questions, or I forget what they were before I get to the computer. Not this time. This time I need answers and as you lot are the equivalent of a long suffering husband / lover / boyfriend / flatmate etc then you are the ones that I have to ask. It's a downside to reading the ravings of a single woman who lives at 1200 feet with little to no oxygen and only mad neighbours.

Ok, so to my deranged question: are you ready? Pens to paper, pencils sharpened? OK. Here goes. DO DOGS SPEAK OTHER LANGUAGES???

I mean, does a dog from France speak in French? Is the french poodle totally incomprehensible to the English Cocker Spaniel? Does the Irish Setter have such a thick accent that none of the other dogs know what he is going on about? Assuming that animals have vocabulary is there just one 'language' for the same species wherever they live on the planet? In the Tintin comics Snowy doesn't say 'Woof Woof', he says 'Woo Woo' so obviously french dogs bark differently. I mean Tintin wouldn't lie would he?

I mean is 'dog' a universal language or are they all speaking individual languages? If we do, why shouldn't they? And if that is the case then do all animals have the same problem? Does that mean that migratory birds are bilingual or are they like the British on the Costa del Sol and refuse to speak a word of the holiday countries language? Swallows could be sitting in South Africa in the winter speaking very loudly and slowly to the locals and asking for "FLIES AND CHIPS PLEASE" then saying to each other "I just don't know why the locals won't TRY to learn English".

If my theory has merit then the zoos must be very confusing places. It could explain the failure of the mating programme for the Pandas. I mean there are loads of chinese dialects so if you get two pandas from different places they probably have no idea what they are saying to each other. Sex is not going to be on the cards until they have found some common vocab and that could take a while....

If they don't have different languages though, then how come? Why would dogs the world over speak the same language but people wouldn't? I need answers and as the wisdom of the ages is out there in the interweb thingummy then I figure I am asking the right people.

P.S. Now that you get a glimpse into the deranged workings of my mind perhaps my single status is less of a surprise.

P.P.S. Obviously I don't mean actual French - I mean dog version of French, though perhaps there are dogs out there going "Je voudrais un saucisson. Possible but highly unlikely

14 comments:

Milla said...

can't comment. you are deranged, if not barking, ho ho.
I think dogs just "speak" bum, dead rabbit and poo. that's it. end of. shudder.

Mrs Jones said...

I remember reading somewhere once an article about a horse that had been schooled in France and so only knew the French words for 'trot on', etc. It's new English owner had to learn the French - it's probably easier than trying to teach the horse English. Both of our cats know 'tea', 'no' and both answer to 'Pepper' which is the name of one of them. The other can be a bit dense at times.

Exmoorjane said...

Laughing, both at this and Milla's comment! Yes, Tintin always worried me too - woo woo????
What is Snowy called in the French/Belgian?
Yes, do like The Power of Five very much - debated putting them in but felt AH was getting enough good press already! Haven't tried Pullman's earlier ones - shall do.

Home Office Mum said...

And I thought I was out there with wondering whether the last pea on a plate that gets scraped into the bin instead of being eaten feels as though it hasn't fulfilled its destiny - or just plain relieved not to be eaten. But you have officially taken the barking mad trophy from me. Well done.

Cathy said...

I talk to my dogs all the time. I tell everyone what they are "saying" to me and all my children think I'm mad. I tell them I am the "dog whisperer" in our household. Of course they speak other languages. They have the brain of a three year-old child in alot of respects. My little Cairn, Donnan, says "hello" when I come home. He knows when I say the word bath in any sentence because he immediately hides under the bed and he knows the word cheese because all I have to do is say it and he walks to the frig.
I'll be crazy with you Sweetie.

Welsh Girl said...

Milla - so to a french dog that would be Clochard, lapin mort and merde then?
Mrs Jones - is the other cat called Salt????
Exmoor Jane - Tintin was very worrying. I could never believe that the bearded ones were goodies - they looked so villainous.
Home Office Mum - Oh lord, now I have to worry about the peas too? I think an uneaten pea has an unfulfilled destiny....
Cathy - always good to have company on the crazy side of the sanity line...

Mrs Jones said...

Other cat is called Sylvester, but he does come when you whistle....

dragondays said...

Dogs are definitely bi-lingual, so my Scottie tells me. He and I talk in French, the New Husband and he converse in English (NH also adding a Scottish accent at times) and ... my dog can spell! When I tell the NH to give the dog a B-I-C the wee Scottish one gallops to the Bonio box.
I just have the most brilliant dog in the world!

cynicalscribble said...

On first glance I'm laughing my head off thinking 'brilliant'.
After 30 seconds more thought (and as Mrs Jones says), I reckon they recognise the sounds of words rather than anything else.

Although I love the thought of loads of animals being bilingual (or sitting there with their pocket translators)!

The Singlutionary said...

What? Why wouldn't Pandas speak the chinese language of love?

My dog totally speaks english. But I wonder. Does she secretly speak any other languages.

The language of Dog, however, is mainly based on body language. And body language does vary a bit culture from culture. So when speaking Dog with a dog from another country, its most likely like you and I speaking (in real life--if that ever were to happen!) where you have this lovely Welsh accent and I sound like a big barking American.

Oh. And I am back. Kinda. I posted!

Anonymous said...

Well the sheepdogs around here all seem to speak Welsh.
Wendy (Wales)

justme said...

Do you speak to the Loyal Hound in Welsh, or in English?
I have no idea, but suspect that they speak universal dog and communicate with each other in much the same way as two year olds without much language do.
But am loving the idea of the swallows speaking loudly and slowly!!
I refuse to worry about what solitary peas may think. That way madness lies, and I have quite enough problems....

Welsh Girl said...

Mrs Jones - I so hoped it would be Salt!
Dragondays - Lassie had nothing on your dog. Bilingual and a spelling bee champion!
Cynical Scribble - Do animals have pockets? God, nobody tells me anything...
Singlutionary - Of course she does. She's probably fluent in gang talk, Mexican and has a rudimentary grasp of cat as well. She knows no limits!
Wendy - you are so right - the sheepdogs DO speak Welsh, and refuse to answer to English though I suspect that is snobbery on their part.
Justme - the Loyal Hound speaks fluent idiot which seems to work in all languages. Now, are you sure you don't want to consider the peas?

Rob-bear said...

Our poodle (while she lived) was very good at French (Canada's "other" official language). In fact, she was bilingual. I could speak to her in wither English or French, and she seemed to know what I was saying.

Dogs are often smarter than we credit them for being.

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