Thursday, May 11, 2006

How to talk to an Italian dog


While visiting at my parents’ in Italy last weekend, Milo gave us a bright example of code switching, that is the ability that multilinguals have to switch from one language to another appropriately, according to the interlocutor.

His dad was showing off his dog educating skills with my parents’ dog Lillo, which is a nutcase cross between a Dalmatian and a Boxer, full of life and energy and impossible to get a hold of. The beast scares the life out of everyone and only my might 6'2" brother can possibly take him for a walk, not without coming back with some disclocated articulation.

Well, the Belgianite (a.k.a Milo’s dad) has this thing with animals, and while giving his commands in Dutch, he managed to have the dog seated and even laying down for about half an hour, gaining even more esteem and admiration from his in-laws, who did not fail to capture the miracle on camera!

Milo followed attentively the entire manouver and he fearlessly approached the dog at one point, looked at him straight in the eyes, lifted his little index finger and intimidated him with an undiscussable: "Seduto!" (that is be seated...in Italian)!

Because Lillo understands Dutch, surprisingly, but remains an Italian dog!

3 comments:

Juliet said...

That's interesting to hear aobut Milo switching between languages.
Eventually, he will get the hang of them all, and it will really be to his benefit in the future. ^_^

giovanni said...

When I was a kid we had a boxer named Fiesta and we said "down" to have her laying down -- typical Dutch.

Un abrazo

Guillaume said...

The example given by Milo isn't exactly "code switching". Code switching is when you altern consciously two languages with one person, often within a single sentence. See your link to Wikipedia.