Monday, September 8, 2014

What if Katy Didn't?

 Does Katydid qualify as onomatopoeia?  Not to my ear.  Doesn't matter, though.  When the word Katydid was new. probably in the 18th Century when Bartram was traveling, and possibly coined the name of this beautiful insect, other observers, or should I say listeners, thought it sounded like Katy Didn't!  On this warm afternoon,  my son caught one on the college driveway and it didn't make a sound.  He released into the car, and we drove it into town.  When we got home, we took a couple of photos then released it to the wild. 
To me, attempting to replicate animal sounds with English words is futile.  It's interesting to compare how the same process is done in French, Spanish, and German, much less languages I know nothing about.  One quickly learns that French, Spanish and German cats sound different than American cats. 
Maybe it's because the cats are trying to imitate us.  This view is consistent with my belief that babies learn "baby talk" from adults who imagine they are imitating babies.

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