Dog only understands (commands in) Czech

Reports the Chicago Tribune:

New Lenox’s newest cop barks, or at least understands, only a foreign tongue. So when canine officer Bear joined the force five months ago, his partner, Officer John Conroy, learned to give commands to the Czech born and bred German shepherd in his native language. “It is a bit of a twist,” said New Lenox Police Chief Walter Kaszubski. “You have to learn how to speak to a dog, but he also had to do it in a foreign language.”

This is of more than idle interest to me. For, having now taught the cat to do drop kicks and to whap full tosses out of the window, I need to identify the linguistic environment in which she may most lucratively pursue her sporting career. At the moment we’re conducting late night sessions using the University of Victoria’s interactive IPA chart. The idea of phoneme sets is still new to her (and to me), and the only sound which consistently elicits a reaction (positive) is what the chart confusingly refers to as a devoiced voiced alveolar nasal. What has Aznar ever done for cats, one wonders.

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