Monday, January 10, 2005

Cat language preferences

LanguageLog (see links on left) are talking about some research that shows that rats can recognise (and develop preferences for) different human languages.

It is not news to me that animals can recognise human languages. My Japanese friend decided to learn Chinese, and bought some self-study tapes. But she had to give up the attempt because she couldn't play the tapes. Whenever she did, her cat went berserk. It bounced off the walls, singing loudly in cat language for as long as the tape was playing, and her apartment is not large enough to accommodate both a language learner and a berserk cat. It's hard to say whether the cat greatly dislikes Chinese or finds it too overwhelmingly wonderful.

My friend decided to learn a different language, one more soothing for her cat. I think she decided on Spanish in the end.