Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Doggy Idioms




I unintentionally made a bunch of people very angry when I commented elsewhere that either of my dogs is more a "person" than an embryo is. On reflection it was kind of predictable, but to me personhood has nothing to do with abortion laws so it didn't immediately register that I was about to get whacked with a 'pro-life' hammer. I'm just really impressed by my dogs f(^_^; I wondered afterwards if some of the ire directed toward me was caused by the negative use of dogs in English: "I wouldn't treat a dog like that/ treated worse than a dog/ not fit for a dog." 

We have many dog-related idioms, most of which don't give dogs a great deal of respect: bitch fight, work like a dog, dog's life, in the dog house, treated like a dog, every dog has his day, sick as a dog, hair of the dog, dog tired, dog eat dog, dog's breakfast, fight like cats and dogs, raining cats and dogs, see a man about a dog, wag the dog, the dog days of summer, let sleeping dogs lie, dog day afternoon, like a dog with its tail between its legs, and like a dog with a bone.

In Japanese idioms, dogs get a mostly negative treatment as well:
犬も食わない (not even a dog would eat it), 犬と猿/犬猿の仲 (dogs and monkeys, basically the same as cats and dogs in English), 負け犬 (a looser), 犬死する (die in vein), and 犬も歩けば棒に当たる (similar to every dog has his day but with more of a connotation that good things will come if you take action). 

I'd love to hear from speakers of other languages. How do dogs fare in idioms around the world?
             
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5 comments:

  1. In Korean, a big insult is Keiseki. It literally means dog baby. But, it's fighting words, none the less.

    If you say Keizori to someone, you are telling them they sound like a noisy whining barking dog. Also insulting.

    Shibal Kei, is another dog insult. Calling anyone anything related to a dog is gonna get you punched. Korea is weird.

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  2. I can't understand why this is at all! Dogs always bring me such joy, so why they are associated with negative idioms is frankly beyond me!

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  3. In Japanese language there are three types of writing: hiragana, katakana and kanji. These writing types are used differently and all of them are very important to the language. So what are their differences and when are they used?

    Hiragana and katakana are like the Japanese alphabet. Both of them have the same number of symbols – 46; each symbol represents a sound and most of the sounds are made up of two alphabetical letters. For example some sounds are:ka, ki, ku, ke, ko, sa, shi, su, se, so. When you have learnt the symbols, it is very easy to write katakana and hiragana because you just write down exactly the same way you hear it. Kanji are much more difficult, they are the hieroglyphs, which came to Japan from China.I liked your blog, I liked your blog, Take the time to visit the me and say that the change in design and meniu?

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