Wednesday, January 2, 2013
They love you.
'Nazis tried to teach dogs to talk and read – and claimed one could even discuss religion. Hitler, a well-known dog lover, hoped the animals would learn to communicate with their SS masters, and supported a special dog school set up to teach them to talk. Nazi officials recruited so-called educated dogs from all over Germany and trained them to tap out signals using their paws. The dog school was called the Tier-Sprechschule ASRA and was based near Hanover. Led by headmistress Margarethe Schmitt, it was set up in the 1930s and continued throughout the war years.
'Rolf, an Airedale terrier, reportedly ‘spoke’ by tapping his paw against a board, each letter of the alphabet being represented by a certain number of taps. He was said to have speculated about religion, learnt foreign languages, written poetry and asked a visiting noblewoman: ‘Could you wag your tail?’ The patriotic dog even expressed a wish to join the army – because he disliked the French. A Dachshund named Kurwenal was said to speak using a different number of barks for each letter, and told his biographer he would be voting for Hindenburg. And a German pointer named Don imitated a human voice to bark: ‘Hungry! Give me cakes.’
'But do dogs really talk? Back in 1912 Harry Miles Johnson of Johns Hopkins University said, emphatically, "no." In a paper in Science, he generally agreed with the findings of Oskar Pfungst of the Institute of Psychology at the University of Berlin who studied a dog famous for its large vocabulary. The dog's speech is "the production of vocal sounds which produce illusion in the hearer," Johnson wrote. Nothing in the last century has really changed that scientific opinion.
'It's more appropriate to call it imitating than talking, says Gary Lucas, a visiting scholar in psychology at Indiana University Bloomington. Dogs vocalize with each other to convey emotions—and they express their emotions by varying their tones, he says. So it pays for dogs to be sensitive to different tones. Dogs are able to imitate humans as well as they do because they pick up on the differences in our tonal patterns.
'Owner hears the dog making a sound that resembles a phrase, says the phrase back to the dog, who then repeats the sound and is rewarded with a treat. Eventually the dog learns a modified version of her original sound. As Lucas puts it, "dogs have limited vocal imitation skills, so these sounds usually need to be shaped by selective attention and social reward." Scientists have made some progress in their study of this important subject: They've learned why dogs, and other animals, have rather poor pronunciation and, for example, completely botch consonants.
'Dogs "don't use their tongues and lips very well, and that makes it difficult for them to match many of the sounds that their human partners make," Lucas says. "The canine alphabet differs significantly from ours, featuring a fraction of our consonants (b, f, h, p, r, w, and sometimes y) and the rounder vowel sounds, which are more “sung” than “spoken.” Words are therefore primarily distinguished by minor variations in pronunciation (dogs can differentiate twelve types of r sounds and five degrees of hardness in the letter b)."' -- collaged
p.s. Hey. My advice to you on how to get the maximum impact out of the post today is to try to play all the videos at the same time, but playing them individually will provide you with a not uninteresting effect as well. God speed. Also, like I mentioned in the comments yesterday, you can hear Jax's aka Jack Dickson's radio play 'Rio' as broadcast by BBC Radio Scotland starting anytime after 11:30 am GMT today if you click this, choose 'today', and then choose 'Rio'. ** Postitbreakup, Thanks! And, big duh, a late but loud and theatrical happy birthday to you, my pal. Really glad you dug the Carlsen photos, man, and I know Carolyn is too. ** Jax, Hi. Yeah, sorry about the day/time mix-up. I'll finally get the pleasure today, can't wait, and very cool. Thanks about the Beachy, or the Beachie, I don't know which. I've never seen The Beachies written except in plural. Virtual ingestion of banana bread will do in a pinch, and this seems to be a pinch, so thank you. "Django' is just out. I'm going to catch it as soon as I can find someone here who'll catch it with me. Must be on in the theaters there too, I reckon. Enjoy your big radio day! ** Bill, I thought you might like it. Oh, I should say that Carolyn Fliest asked me to thank you and everyone else who enjoyed the Carlsen show. She said she tried to post a comment, but Blogger/Google foiled her. Borneo! Pray tell, man! ** Statictick, Glad you enjoyed, natch. A happy one back to you. Or happy many by this point, I mean. My health continues to improve, thank you, to the point where it's not even nagging me to mention that its problems exist anymore, knock on wood. ** David Ehrenstein, Carolyn (and I) thank you for digging the Carlsen. John Huston directed that film? I would've never guessed. Sad if that was Zsa Zsa's greatest role 'cos all she did was smile a lot and dance/sing in the mostly background. Poor her. I was always more of an Eva fan, due entirely to her part in the sublime 'Green Acres'. Thank you very much for the links to the fascinating looking Fournier piece -- he is quite terrific -- and the one on Bruno Latour? 'The new Hegel'? Hunh?! ** Dennis Cooper, You must have had a very high fever when you made the post today. ** xTx, Oh, gosh, thanks, pal. Did you watch that Spreecast thing live? I watched the whole thing, but not live, since it was 'live' at the wee hours here. I don't think I would have made it through that hour plus or whatever of 'everybody's up on the roof, uh, so, uh, I don't know what to do' stuff, if I'd watched it live. Anyway, yes to your resolution about our two novels. I am 10000000% in agreement with you. I'll even go so far as to resolve that both of our novels will not only be finished but have publishers signed on, blurbs lined up, and front cover art designed before we leave 2013. How about that? ** Steevee, Weird about that Owen Gleiberman thing. Weird or not weird, I guess, that in all the years I've read or skimmed his reviews, I never thought about his politics once. I just have no interest at all in seeing 'Les Miserables'. I does not speak to me theoretically for whatever reason. Definitely not for three hours. Interesting that it's good. People are saying so. Not hard to blow away 'Dancer in the Dark', if you ask me. Anyway, I probably still won't see it, but I'm happy to hear your thoughts. ** Allesfliesst, Thanks for congratulating me on my now official nice guy-ness. I hope it doesn't go to my head. Ha ha, yes, that's true, and I wonder how many writers could say they won France's most evil literary prize and America's most benevolent one? Just me, I bet. I had a Berliner once. It wasn't bad. Like a jelly donut with a dark soul and a furrowed brow. 2012 wasn't your best year? Oh, well, 2013 definitely will be. Really, its bestness is completely definite. ** 5STRINGS, France or Paris is the place to be, Europe-wise, word. Berlin gets the wannabe ex-pat headlines, but Paris is far better situated geographically, and, well, it's French, so it wins because of that or something. No, to answer your question. Me neither re: champagne. I didn't get fairy dusted, so you won. You deserve it. Quitting smoking? Good luck with that. I mean it. Whoa. Happy Wednesday, bro! ** Rewritedept, That would cause your brain to hurt understandably, yes. Sounds fun, though. I wonder if Jello mellowed or whether he was always really nice? Lydia Lunch has mellowed sort of a little bit. Karen Finley has gotten even meaner. I think your new direction sounds both fruitful and circumstantially wise. Bizarre sexual material? Don't you know that serious literature and bizarre sexual material don't mix? ** Patrick deWitt, Buddy boy! How's it? Happy Days and Nights to you, big pal! I hope the novel is still cooperating with you implicitly and entirely. ** _Black_Acrylic, Yeah, sorry for the mix-up on Jax's thing. Today's the day. Well, what a charming and goofball term for New Years then. Great about you booking the Paris/May venture! Fantastic, man. Can't wait, and, obviously, we can sort out the mutual parts between now and then. ** Kyler, Hi, Kyler! HNY! Yeah, I think it is possible for nice guys to succeed against the odds on occasion. It hasn't hurt me, I guess? No, I am not ready for my impending birthday, short answer, but I congratulate you on getting ready for yours. If I were going to be there, I would for sure be at your pizza and wine party, and you never know, I guess, but ... NYC in early February? I don't know, man. ** Rigby, Hey, big R! Post-top of the New Year joy and festive feelings galore to you! Right, about 'Cecil B. Demented', right? That has to be John's most underrated movie. It is awesomeness, etc. I should rent or download (or something) '21 Jump Street'? I keep wondering if I should. You good? Everything good or at least sort of good? Any plans to visit the big P? ** Cobaltfram, Glad you dug what Carolyn provided, man. Right, Carsen is way into 'The Iliad' and all that kind of stuff for sure. Don't start waiting on my novel yet. If I even finish it, you won't see it for at least year if not two probably, the way publishers work. But, uh, 'The Weaklings XL' comes out this year anyway. Dachshunds are cool, underrated. No, I have not seen your new tumblr. Wait ... Yes, I have seen your new tumblr, and it's very pretty and compelling to me, no surprise. I think you should hook up with Captain Backfire. I'm not joking. Anyway, very cool tumblr. Keep it going, okay? I just bookmarked it, and please don't let that marking be in vain. Everyone, I direct your attention here, here being a new tumblr by prose and blog commentary maestro Cobaltfram called 'Central Texas Personals' that is at once clever, heartbreaking, visually exciting, possibly boner producing depending on the particular shape/needs of one's libido, etc. Need I say more? ** Misanthrope, And he probably would have let you rim him for a few hours. God damn the inflexibility of time, man. No, Beach Sloth has never met me, obviously. You, however, have, and know the cowering that must be implemented by everyone who comes within three feet of me. Good going. ** Creative Massacre, Thanks for the congrats, pal! Mark Doten also recommended WORD Books, if you didn't see it. When are you off the NYC? How is the New Year for you so far? ** Ken Baumann, Ken! I will, man, assuming I find a Parisian fellow adventurer, or maybe even if not. Do you like going to the movies alone? I do, but I always have a devil of a time making the decision to. Strange. Anyway, I can't see not seeing that 48 frames thing, so ... ramble ramble, I will! How's the writing and everything going? ** Mark Doten, Happy New Year to you! It's not even all that new anymore, but it still deserves to have the word happy attached to it, which is nice, no? Thanks for the rec for CM. Glad Carlsen did you in in the good way. Lots o' love. ** MANCY, Man, you really undersold 'Blue Pill'. I like that one a whole lot. Total spell creator too. I watched it three times in a row yesterday. These new works of yours are really great and fucked up. I really, really like what's happening in the new pieces. Big kudos! Ha, Andy Stott as a fireworks prep does sound kind of dangerous. ** Sypha, Very good for you. I'm liking those productive plans. Nose to that grindstone, please. It'll encourage me to put my nose somewhere grinding too. ** Slatted Light, Slat! You came back, and I'm not sick even sick and your unworthy recipient anymore. Well, an argument could be made that I'm eternally unworthy of you, sir. I know, deviant gentleman sounds so ... 18th century? Or is it the 19th? Glad you're getting along there. I'm okay, especially now that sickness is mostly behind me. I just have this really stubborn, stand-offish novel I'm trying to write very unsuccessfully of late, but, otherwise, yeah, things are okay, I think. Love to you, Daviant! ** Right. So, today's post is the first one I made when I was sick, and it heralds a shortish phase of sickness-inspired posts, and I think everything will probably be okay again in about a week or a bit longer from now, and, in the meantime, maybe we can all learn something from these posts about the relationship between human illness and the technical requirements of the Blogger format if we pay the right kind of attention or something. See you tomorrow.
Posted by Dennis Cooper at 12:06 AM