It's been while since I've actually had a good waffle on here. It's partly because I have a blockage in the creativity brain cell and partly because I've discovered photo editing. I also have a lovely new camera.
I will not detain you too long, but a line of thought has been wending its weary way through my sullied intellect and I would very much like to share it with my ailurophile buddies.
My experience with cats has only ever been on first come first served basis. In other words only one cat at a time has graced my abode (one can't really count Tigger!) So I've never been able to study multicat interaction at close quarters. It also means that the one cat I've had living with me has been the sole recipient of my attention, love and devotion .... and, to be honest, sometimes also wrath e.g. after an altercation regarding the ethics of shredded furniture in the living room.
However, throughout these long years of close proximity to Austin there is no doubt in my mind that he is starting to learn the basics of English grammar and syntax. No, he is, really!
When he first arrived he was understandably reticent and a tad reluctant to throw himself wholeheartedly into life chez moi. After all I was a middle-aged lady of punctilious disposition and he was a mog from the mean streets of downtown Colwyn Bay. It was not, at first glance, a perfect union.
As time passed by and we got used to each other, a change started to take place in more than one of us!
He became more vocal and, in actual fact, so did I. We would chat about our day, or at least I would and he would chip in now and again with comments and opinions. Eventually Austin would initiate a conversation and I would interject with thoughts of my own. As time has gone on, we have settled into a routine of chat and backchat. So what have I observed?
It might be my imagination but I've noticed he's starting to differentiate between the parts of speech. I think it is illustrated very well by an exchange that took place the other evening.
Picture the scene. It was a dark and stormy night and Austin was out on the town ... well in the garden actually ... and I wanted him to come in. For those who are unfamiliar with the lexical categories, we (Austin and I, for it's a combined study) have referenced the following tome:
"In the Mood: Aspects of a Tense Voice in Feline Linguistics" by Magnum O'Puss (a little known Irish catademic). The parts of speech that we identified have been highlighted in red:
Me: "Austin?" = the interrogative
Austin: "Meow?" = the responsive interrogative
Me: "Come now!" = the imperative
Austin: "Meow!" = the counter imperative
Me: "This minute!" = the escalating imperative
Austin: (walking slowly away): "Meow!" = the dismissive interlocutive
Me (arms akimbo, following him in the dark): "Pleeeeaase!" = the diminishing interlocutive
Austin (heading for the hebe bush): "Meow!!" = the declining interactive
Me (right behind him): "You ___ cat" = the mumbled derogative
Austin: "ƾ" = the verbless claws
Me: "$**!T" = the moronic overreactive and the expletive deleted