Thursday, April 22, 2010

Parlez Vous Francais?

 There was some interest in comments when I mentioned that French was my first language, so I thought I'd expand on that a bit today. For the first two days here in my new home no one really noticed. Most of the verbal  interaction involved expressions of delight with me, affection for me and trying to get me to eat, which I wasn't doing until they got it right. I had no problem with that kind of communication. I could get along just fine in informal conversational English - and Spanish for that matter. And of course, tone of voice and body language tells a dog a lot, too. So, no problems thus far.

I arrived on Saturday evening. On the first Monday of my new life, the Moms decided that they should take me to work with them just this one time. They didn't have a crate set up,  Daddy wasn't feeling well enough to be company that day and they didn't really know if I suffered from separation anxiety or anything. The Moms work at the same place, but they have very different jobs. Alpha Mom's seems much more interesting. She runs around to different offices and talks with all sorts of people all day and never seems to stop moving. I think she's kind of Alpha at work, too. Blog Mom mostly just stays in her office working on the computer and all that's on the screen is mostly numbers most of the time. Really not interesting to watch. So guess who I got stuck with?  Right. Blog Mom and they closed the door to her stuffy little office to boot. Something about dogs being against the rules.

After a while things got too tedious to bear, so I got up and put my front paws on the arm of Blog Mom's chair and gave her a very appealing look, complete with cocked head. She got all melty, of course, but clearly intended to keep on doing whatever she was doing, so I became teensy bit more assertive. You know - just a little nudge, nudge with the paw. At that point Blog Mom said something I didn't follow, but she seemed to expect something of me. I had no idea what and, well, I was new and all. I might even have been on some kind of probation for all I knew.  So I gave her a sincere stare that was intended to say, "I'd really like to help you out, but I have no idea what you're saying.." We went through this back and forth a couple of times and then light dawned on Blog Mom and she started Googling. After a bit she turned and said, "Sientate!", which it turns out is ""Sit" in Spanish. Blog Mom had realized that a girl from New York City might speak any one of about a gazillion languages at home. So, of course, she tried Spanish first as it's almost as common as English in the area. But that wasn't it. So she though some more and she thought that she knew a number of people from Haiti who spoke French and that they all either lived in Brooklyn or had a lot of family in Brooklyn. So she said, "Assis!". And I sat right down. A little experimenting showed that I would also obey "ici" (here, as in "come here") and I was pretty good at "attend" (stay). I do not "au pied" (heel) in any language.

Blog Mom put a list of doggy command translations on the refrigerator and everyone has tried to learn them. They've done pretty well, but the other day Blog Mom slipped and said "Sit" and I sat! She was so surprised once she realized what happened there. I am picking up English commands without even being asked to. But not "heel". Never, ever heel.


  1. Wait until you see our French lessons...BOL
    Benny & Lily

  2. Wow! You are so very much cosmopolitan, Lola! And you looks tres chic in your jaunty beret. (I asked mom abouts those French words. She said they mean "lookin' good.") And I think it's oh-so-much impressive that you're becoming bilingual. You are a very VERY smart sharpei, that's for sure!

    By the way, my Brudder Ranger won't heel either. Something about it being beneath him.

    Wiggles & Wags,

  3. I'm guessing it's all good with your moms as long as you don't try French kissing them! As far as heeling goes, sometimes (maybe always) a girl just has to sniff!


  4. miss lola,
    you look so cute in your beret, and your picture just made my mama's day. :)
    so you know like 4 languages -- doggie, english, french, and spanish! i'm super duper impressed.
    oh, and you know this means my mama is gonna like speak the french to you on random occasions now.
    à bientôt! (see, i told you so.)
    the booker man

  5. You are so lucky that your blog mom figured out that French was your first language. It could have been more difficult for you to set in otherwise.
    So I understand all information about your before life has been lost? ANyway, that's the present that counts, and you are a happy dog.

  6. OK, booker. Just remind your mom that my typist doesn't speak much French. Mostly just the doggie commands she looked up on the internet and a few other words. I am multilingual. She is not, unless you count high school Italian which she took several hundred years ago.

  7. Your multilingual skills are impressive, Lola... and it's good that you get to follow Mom to the workplace... it definitely makes the day more exciting.

    Licks, hero

  8. Hero, it was really just that once, going to work all day with them. They learned I didn't suffer from separation anxiety - at least not in any clinical sense. I didn't need any crate, either. And mostly I have sufficient company at home. Oh, and technically it is against the rules. That's OK, though. I think the day is probably more interesting here at home than watching Blog Mom do something with numbers on the computer.

  9. I am muches facsinateded by your bilingualness. And even more so that your mom thought to googgle other languages...hers purty smartical too. Don't fret I don'ts heel either. Maters of factly, I don't come, roll over, heel, or stay. Da only thing I do is sit.

  10. Love this story and the picture is adorable.
    Mommy wants to thank you for the comment about Frank and Isaiah. That exactly how Mommy feels but shes not good woth words.


  11. Nous aussi on parle Français, Lola! Except for Tommy who speaks English......

    The Chans

  12. Wow Lola,first we must congratulate u on ur look.its just so Smart.

    French is all French to us.except just a few words. and that too, we are not sure about the correct pronunciation.

    must try it with you so u can help us learn.
    by the way, ur story about ur experience with ur
    Mummy was really nice. we Dawgs are real smart. we pick up languages very fast indeed.

    Prends soin de toi

    Ginger and BUddy

  13. Wow Lola, its great that you know French. Maybe I should try some different languages with my foster dogs and see if they know anything. Although around here its mostly just English that is spoken so I don't think I'll have much luck.

  14. Love your jaunty hat, Lola! What a smart Blog Mom you have!!

  15. That is pawesome Lola!
    Spanish and english is what I understand... when I want!
    Kisses and hugs

  16. Lola, are you speaking my language?? Oh wait, I'm French. But my first language is poo poo... Hmm.

    Wanna kiss?

  17. Why heel when there is a whole, wide, wonderful world under your paws that needs exploring☺

  18. Hi again, Lola! I gots your message on my bloggie and wanted to lets you know that Brudder Ranger usually, writes...on Sundays. Hopes you're having a happy Saturday!

    Wiggles & Wags,

  19. Lola
    Boy you are a smart lady dog...we were quite interested in your story. We hope Dad is doing well. What a small world and to think you Mom's went to college just down the road from me.
    I have family in Durham and Duke is our 2nd favorite sports team after North Carolina State University...we are all NCSU people.
    Madi and Mom


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