Thursday, December 10, 2009

Learning the animals

Has it ever struck you as odd that the animals and their various noises are such a high priority when it comes to educating our young?

That the cow goes moo, the lion rooooar and the sheep baaa are invariably amongst the first things our children learn. And yet in day to day life most of us have almost no contact with animals other than as pets or food, or as pet-food.

On the other hand, I suppose that impressing upon one’s infant the news that the mortgage statement goes rustle rustle and the chip-and-pin machine beep-beep would lack a certain joi de vivre.

16 comments:

dogimo said...

That's an interesting observation.

Maybe it's just a case of give 'em what they want. Kids are crazy for animals!

David said...

Tradition!

Gaw said...

I agree with Dogimo. They just love 'em. And, then, after the farm animals and pets come...the dinosaurs.

worm said...

the truly weird thing is that animals make different noises in different languages, many of which are frankly rubbish

english(bee)- Bzzzzzz
german - sum sum

english(cat) - meiow
japanese - nyan nyan

english(cat) - purrrr
japanese - goro goro

etc

Brit said...

Dogimo - aren't they just. I wonder why...

And Worm - yes, our animal noises are obviously the right ones. Goro goro? Those crazy Japanese!

Sophie King said...

Did anyone hear the gibbons calling on Radio 4 yesterday morning? I think their noise is one of the most joyous in the animal world, and the most fun to imitate. My family deserted me on a trip to Monkey World in Dorset last summer when I started communing with the gibbons. How could I not?

malty said...

Sophie, not to mention the gibbon chatter on the news programmes yesterday, as the bankers cried out about bonus bashing.

Were leaving
Were leaving
Were goingggggggg

My granddaughter asked me if hipototamus barked like a dog.

Brit said...

"Only when they're very happy," I hope you told her, Malty.

I was going to make a similar joke about the gibbons on Radio 4 and Alistair Darling's speech to the Commons but then I thought it was too Mock the Week.

Nige said...

And in kiddy talk trains still go 'Choo choo' and 'Chuffa Chuffa' - no wonder the world's a bewildering place for them.

Peter Burnet said...

Surely Dawkins has the answer again. The fascination of babies with animals demonstrates a altruistic genetic affinity for their biological cousins. It's only when they are older and warped by monotheism that they decide they would rather eat them.

newpsalmanazar said...

The important thing is to preserve the conventional pronunciation of animal sounds. If we don’t teach our children that cows say “moo” they might end up mimicking the sound more like an “uuuuuhhhhhh.” That might be more accurate, technically, but the inevitable result would be chaos later in life.

MattF said...

Children like it when adults make silly noises. It confirms their suspicions about the dangers of absolute power.

Willard said...

So right, Brit. This needs updating.

The cow goes 'do you want fries with that?'

The fish goes 'it goes rather well with the white...'

Etc. etc.

Susan said...

I'm looking forward to the annual Children's lecture at the Royal Geographical Society this weekend - 'Animal Diaries'.

Gadjo Dilo said...

"Goro goro"?? Oh, please.

Brit said...

Some good theories here. Of course, Peter, this is an absolute sitter for evolutionary psychologists, but I like N's rather sinister Orwellian take.