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The Dog Says Waf Waf

Arf. Meow. Cock-a-doodle-doo!

We all know that is exactly what the dog says, what the cat says and what the rooster crows.* It’s obvious.

It’s basic onomatopoeia (A word that is spelled the same way it sounds.  For instance, boom or bing or fwoosh or, say, meow.), yeah? The animal makes a sound and that sound is as clear as a bell.

Listen to a dog bark (there’s onomatopoeia for you) and you’ll hear the arf arf arf. It’s just basic. Something that is the same no matter where you go in the world.

Except that it’s not.

Different cultures and different languages, it turns out, have different words for the same sounds animals make.

Where we hear dogs go “arf arf,” the Dutch hear them say, “waf waf.” Yes, really.

Being a wordnerd, I’m always looking for stuff like this. I always love this kind of stuff and, since I’m the one behind the keyboard, you get to hear about it as well.**

wsmbannerI was at the website of Derek Abbot, a dude from Australia, and he has this tremendous chart listing different animal sounds, what word is used to describe their sound in Australian English and the word for that sound in different languages.

Here’s how different languages write down a small dog’s arf arf:
Finnish — hau hau
French — ouah ouah (in a high voice)
German — wau wau (in a high voice)
Turkish — hev hev

A big dog’s bark also has some different interpretations:
Danish — vov-vov (in a low voice)
Russian — gav-gav
Spanish — guf guf

In English, pigs oink. In Hungarian, pigs röf-röf (pron: reuf-reuf).

There’s much, much more at Derek’s website. I seriously urge you dudes go head over there and browse a bit. You’ll definitely leave with a much better appreciation of the words you use every day.

Footnotes & Errata

* If anyone says one word — one word! — about the fox saying something, I will hunt you down and do something appalling to the thing you love most in this world. Do not assume this is a joke.
** Provided you’re unable to actually click the mouse and go to another site. I’m going to assume you’re here for more than that reason. Of course, I like to kid myself so I might be doing that here.

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Sunday Show: Community

I don’t binge.

I’m not one of those types of people who will find a show on Netflix or HuluPlus and then watch years worth of episodes in a matter of days.

Well, mostly I’m not.David Tennant is the Tenth Doctor Who and one of his most famous episodes concerned him lecturing people from a television set. Here, he's warning people against binge watching television shows.

Okay. It turns out I am just that kind of obsessive person. I only needed to find the right show to trigger the urge to watch and keep watching until I can’t watch any more.

That show, dudes, is Community. It’s a half-hour ensemble comedy that takes place in the decidedly lesser-tier Greendale Community College and is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen.

I managed to watch the first season in a matter of days and now I need more. I heartily recommend this to any dude or dudette over, say, 14. Not because there’s anything racy or profane, but only because younger than that and they wouldn’t get the jokes.

This is a comedy for adults, but not one that falls for the easy laugh based around defecatory functions or cheap titillation.

Here’s a clip.

Community‘s paintball war episode from the first season. Enjoy.


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I (Heart) You, Babe

St. Valentine’s Day come round again, bringing with it the pure joy and sense of togetherness that is love.

It surely wouldn’t bring with it feelings of inadequacy, panic, anger, frustration, sexual frustration, crumpling under pressure, performance anxiety, fervent desire to be somewhere — anywhere — else. Surely.

Ha, don’t call it Shirley.

I’m not sure if it’s a difference between dudes and dudettes, but the men I know really have no special affection for Valentine’s Day. To us, it’s just a day where we used to get candy in school and (at least for me) that inadequate feeling when the only Valentines in your bag were the ones that got given out to everyone in the classroom.

Even when I ostensibly grew up, I never saw all that much reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I probably got it from my AlohaDoc, aka my dad.

I can’t remember how many times he told me the story of how, when he was a young dude himself, he used to break up with whoever his girlfriend was at the time right around the first of February. That way he didn’t have to go out and purchase a gift.

Women, on the other candy assortment, seem to love Valentine’s Day. I found this out during the first Valentine’s Day I spent with the lady who would become my wife, known to me then as She Who Must Be Having More Fun Than Anyone I’ve Ever Met Before.

We were about to swap presents when she said, “I love Valentine’s Day. It’s always been so special to me.”

At which point my heart crumbled to dust, sifted out my body and landed in a small, dry pile on the linoleum of her dad’s kitchen floor. Because, being an idiot, I’d managed to get her something remarkably unspecial. Heck, it was so unspecial, I can’t even remember what it was.

What I do remember is the look on her face, the sadness trying to hide behind a really bad poker face. I’ve learned since then. Valentine’s Day is a big deal.

Me? Still not so much. The way I see it, I would rather receive spontaneous recognition of someone’s love for me during the year than have one day where that display is mandated. I mean, is it really special when you’ve got to do it?

I’m not so sure about that.

Anyway, I don’t want to come off sounding all cynical and anti-love. I’m not. Well, not anti-love. I can’t help being cynical. I mean, after all, my eyes and ears do work and I pay attention to the world. How could I not be cynical?

But not cynical about love. Love is amazing. Love. Love will keep us together. It’s just Valentine’s Day I have a problem with.

That said, I still went out and got some very nice presents to hand over to my Sweetie. I’m not telling because she’ll probably read this before I have a chance to give them to her.

The hug’s going to be nice. As for anything else. . .

See you later, dudes.

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