As many of my readers already know, my assistant, editor, ideas man and general factotum around my little writing abode is Yalla, my English Cocker Spaniel and man about town and cafés. While his job description remains a little vague, it does seem that sleeping forms a major part of his work day. Perhaps all those ideas he has to digest from me tire him out.
As working mates, we have a great professional and personal relationship but from time to time we still suffer the odd communication breakdown. Languages here in Switzerland are so diverse that we hardly notice the fun and games that go along with not understanding a single word someone is saying. When I make a telephone call, I just wait for all the recorded information in every national language and possibly English before deciding what language I would like to use for the coming call. So if I can handle living with French, German, Swiss German, Italian, Romansch and English, I should be able to manage Dog. But alas, some mysteries remain.
To help, I’ve decided to produce a small translation dictionary and phrase book. Here are few important entries.
- English: Come – Canine: Come, but negotiable. Does he have food? Sniff, sniff. Yes? Let’s go. No? Why bother moving?
- English: Heel – Canine: Unknown word. Oh, what’s that over there? I’d better race off and have a look!
- English: No! – Canine: Does not compute. Wish I knew what that incessant word meant.
- English: Sit – Canine: Sit. Now, sniff, sniff. Food? Yes. Otherwise forget it Pal!
- English: Get off the bed! – Canine: Bed. I was here first! No way! Not moving. There’s another one in the other room for you.
- English: Dinner – Canine: Dinner!
- English: Stop! – Canine: Wait. What was that? Oh, nothing. Now what was I doing?
- English: Go away. I’m busy. – Canine: Playtime!
- English: Stop barking! – Canine: Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof!
- English: Bedtime – Canine: Playtime
- English: Yalla! – Canine: FOOD!
- English: Want a biscuit? – Canine: Biscuit
- English: Stay – Canine: Stay. Ok, 3, 2, 1, let’s go!
Hopefully we’ll communicate on a far better level of understanding now that we both have out translations clearly articulated.