Teaching My Dog Chinese

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Earlier this week I wrote a post about different ways that I have found to help me in my language learning endeavors. Other than speaking Chinese with my in-laws, I also practice my new found language skills with my dog.  I have always found it to be a great learning enforcement when I begin to teach others as I learn.  For this reason, I found myself looking for someone to teach my Chinese vocabulary to, and the only one I found was my dog, Chloe.  You might not have ever really thought about the fact that animals understand different languages, and technically they can't.  However, they do understand tones and intonations and commands in different languages (obviously) sound different.  I first learned this back when I was a kid living in South Africa.  My friends had a dog that didn't seem to respond to any of their commands until they figured out that she understood Afrikaans commands, but not English.  Remembering my friends' dog, I thought, "why not teach my dog Chinese?".  An added bonus is that my in-laws were able to speak to Chloe (and help keep her energy in check) while they were visiting.

I absolutely love my dog and I like to think that she understands me while a prattle away at her (though I know she doesn't really).  My aim is to keep teaching Chloe new words as I learn them.  The great thing about learning vocabulary this way is that its fun and doesn't really feel like work.  Whenever Chloe learns a new command, I look up another one to teach her.  She is actually getting pretty good at following her Chinese commands and I have found that certain commands she obeys more when spoken in Chinese.

So far Chloe knows:

  • 坐 (zuo) - sit
  • 等 (deng) - wait
  • 停 (ting) - stop
  • 看 (kan) - look
  • 上樓 (shang lou) - go upstairs
  • 去你的床 (qu ni de chuang) - go to your bed
  • 放下 (fang xia) - lay down

It may seem silly, but whatever helps the learning process more fun, right? What do you do to help make language learning more fun?

1 comment:

  1. Not a bad idea! I might speak Uzbek to my dog, I do not want to teach him a new set of commands, no - but as I talk to him anyway, might just as well be Uzbek. As it is now, he has a set of commands in Russian, and I might introduce a small set of English or German commands, but that is for work, not for fun.

    As to your question, I am quite bad at making language learning more fun. You are right, I need to come up with something else. As it is now, I am watching movies, reading children's books... but it is not too easy and not always fun. Ah, got it! I translate jokes!