Linguistics analyzes human language. It’s interesting. Fundamentally, all human beings seem to produce language in essentially the same way. As MIT researcher Noam Chomsky pointed out, cats will not understand and produce a language with words.
Dialects are the differences within a language that are used by different groups of people. Do you say poem with one syllable or two? What do you call that drink made with milk and ice cream? Odds are you say “milkshake,” unless you’re in New England where it’s a “frappe.” Although there’s quirky Rhode Island again, where many of us call it a “cabinet.”
Dialects aren’t necessarily good or bad, right or wrong – they’re just different. For example, what do you call it when the sun is shining while it’s raining? Like Eskimos, with a dozen different ways to say “snow,” we’re attuned to the way people talk about rain here at Cleverhood.
According to Harvard University’s Dialect Survey of over 10, 000 individuals, here’s how people characterize this particular sun/rain situation:
- Sunshower (34%)
- The devil is beating his wife (6.43%)
- Liquid sun (0.74%)
- Monkey’s wedding (0.16%)
- Fox’s wedding (0.15%)
- The wolf is giving birth (0.04%)
- Pineapple rain (0.03%)
- I have no term or expression for this (55.15%)
- Other (3.02%)
There you have it – sunshower meaning. Rain is a universal experience with a range of nuances that are completely lost on cats.