Sir Winston was asleep in the hedge when he was suddenly awakened by a strange sound which somehow seemed familiar, but was not. The noise made a deep, grating sound with odd traces of wheezing being emitted. Not being alarmed, Sir Winston came out of the hedge, stretched his long body, leisurely opened and closed his claws, and slowly adjusted his eyes to the brightness of daylight.
After having focused, he noticed that the weird sounds were coming from Mr Midnight who was laying nearby in the flower beds.
Had Mr Midnight got hayfever?, he thought. Sir Winston moved from his comfortable position and went to find out what Mr Midnight was up to.
Whats wrong Mr Midnight, you woke me from my sleep. Are you having problems?
There´s nothing wrong with me you cheeky rascal. I´m sorry for having woken you but I was just practicing one of my foreign languages. You know – the language our neighbours four legged friend seems to speak.
But he´s a dog! Why would you want to try and speak his language? You´re a cat! Cats don´t go around barking and growling.
Well I think he´s got a cool language and I want to be as cool as Mr Dog next door. He seems to have a lot of fun, even frightening people sometimes with his dandy art of communication.
And I think it´s all rather ridiculous that a cat should want to try and be a dog. Every creature has it´s positive and negative attributes and being a cat certainly has many advantages.
Now what´s up with you two then? You both seem to be in a bit of mood at the moment.
Mr Midnight was just explaining how cool it is for a cat to behave like a dog, or words to that effect.
Whatever for? If you´re a cat, shouldn´t you behave like a cat?
I was only practicing my dog language daddy. It seems to be cooler than a cats language and anyway, it can´t be a bad thing to want to learn another language.
Yes, that´s true. One can never have enough foreign languages under ones belt but one should also not forget ones true identity.
I don´t wear a belt daddy but does that mean I may still continue with my studies?
You may do as you please Mr Midnight (you usually do anyway!) but try not to copy another´s way of living. Be yourself – you´re just as magnificent (and as cool) as anybody else. Let me give you a few examples from my daily life.
My garage door has an advertisement upon it from a local businessman. On the eve of the 1st of May, my garage door was deliberately defaced with graffiti by the local youths of my German village. Thank goodness they only used chalk, so their prank was not taken too seriously. However, I found it quite amusing that they obviously, have problems spelling simple english words.
Among other things, they had written the word “Looser” , many times, next to the advertisement on my garage door. It is quite common to want to “copy” the english/american language in many forms of conversation in Germany, but if wanting to write foreign words in public, such as the word “Loser”, should one not at least, look it up beforehand, as to how it is properly written?
Who is the loser now? It´s certainly not “cool” to use another language in public without knowing how the words are properly written or spoken.
That is why I´m practicing my “foreign” language daddy. I don´t want to make myself look ridiculous in public.
Which is certainly a good thing Mr Midnight.
The native english-speaking world (at least those who are living in the UK) are usually quite hopeless at foreign languages with many other countries citizens having a better grasp of our (english) language than we of theirs.
I believe that most native english speakers would freely admit that they were indeed, not a genius of foreign languages. (There are exceptions!)
Languages are changing all the time and the French language still plays a large part in many english words of today. French authorities have also decided to continue their ban of english words with which to “protect and modernise” their own language – a move which helps preserve the French “identity”. In Germany, the clocks seem to run differently with it being common practice to want to adopt almost anything that happens to come from the United States – including the use (or misuse) of the english language.
What do you mean by misuse of the english language daddy?
That it is a shame that although many citizens of my country (Germany) master the english language much better than most english people master a foreign language, correct english pronunciation is often ignored. Most are under the impression that the english language is so easy to learn.
It does not matter if a normal citizen pronounces foreign words wrongly (I do it all the time! ) 🙂 but if one is being paid for ones “english skills” (such as a news presenter, radio or TV journalist or any other professional english-speaking vacancy) then one should be fit in languages (at least in the english language) when presenting oneself before the general-public. Afterall, the TV consumer will be under the impression that the newscaster has spoken the words properly. There seems to be something wrong with the German education system as regards proper english pronunciation. Even when leaving the topic of dialects or American /English pronunciation differences by the wayside, it is still quite typical to hear the constant eradication of the letter “a” into an “e” sound when pronouncing “english” words.
……..Possibly because the natural flow of the language has not been understood. If you use a language and are unable to detect the fine trimmings of that language then it will obviously sound a little weird to native ears.
German people have corrected me many times as to my pronunciation of english words. I mean; I´m english. I think I know how to speak my own language.
You must speak a strange accent daddy otherwise the good people wouldn´t criticise you. What would they call me if they pronounced what I am in the english language?
Based on experience, you would be called a “bleck ket” instead of a black cat.
And with which to compare; what if we “played with the letters” when saying what I am in the German language?
…..then you would be called a “Schwetze Ketze” (properly written Schwarze Katze) which to my knowledge, would mean that you were an “heretic gossiper”. (Schwaetzer = gossiper, Ketzer = heretic)
I don´t think I like the sound of that. It doesn´t sound nice daddy. I can see how important word pronunciation really is. All sorts of misunderstandings can happen.
The english language seems to avoid any such confrontations by simply changing difficult to pronounce places or words into an english sounding name.
I told you that we were useless at languages! Koeln becomes Cologne, Muenchen becomes Munich, and Jerez in Spain becomes Sherry. Problem sorted. One has to accept that one is sometimes poor at foreign pronunciation.
I want to stick with my identity daddy so I will continue to use my “cat” language. For example:- Multiple meows for excited greetings. A drawn-out mrrrooooooowwwwww for a complaint or displeasure. A pur for close attention or contact. A hiss for a sign of aggression.
We also use body language. Such as me twitching my tail when being excited or anxious. Tail vibrating when very excited to see you. Dilated pupils when playful or excited, as well as meaning aggression, and rubbing against you to “make you my own”. If I give you a lick; that is the ultimate gesture of trust.
We have many other sound and body languages but I do not wish to bore the readers.
It is important to be who you really are and to not be a copy of something that we are not. If we discover our true identity, we will be at our most happiest.
To close, one last scenario I experienced at the supermarket not so long ago.
The other day I was “fishing” around for a pizza in the deep-freeze department of my local supermarket. I couldn´t help over-hearing the conversation of the two old ladies standing next to me. (They spoke in loud tones).After also having rummaged around the freezer for the right pizza for their evening meal, one of them commented (conversation was in German!);
“Doris, why don´t we take that nice “Schinken” (Ham) pizza? You know that I like a bit of tasty “Schinken”.
“Alright Hildgard, I´ll look forward to eating that”
Doris picked it up and placed it in her basket. At the same time, I couldn´t help noticing that the two old ladies either couldn´t see properly or that they possessed little knowledge of the english language.
It is quite common within German advertising to want to appear cool and modern and it is with such a mentality, that large areas of the general-public are simply ignored with companies packaging their products with large amounts of “English/American” words and slogans .
I thought to myself; Shall I tell them or not, and partly because of the situation appealing to my sense of humour and also believing that no harm would be done otherwise, I decided against informing them of their mistake.
They had mistaken the word “Schinken” for “Chicken”!
I could imagine them sitting around the table with their glass of red wine and Doris commenting;
“Hildegard, this Schinken (ham) tastes a little bit like “Huhn” (Chicken)!
You see daddy, it is important that one attempts to live ones true identity, even though things are obviously, not always in our hands (or paws)!
Did somebody say something about making a pause?