not really American dialect?

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Jul 2 17:52:57 UTC 2001

Do any of you learned folk know why we smooch at dogs and pss at cats?
The practice of pssing to cats evidently is old, since we call cats
pussies.  No doubt we have smooched at dogs for as long.  Why don't we
call dogs smoochies?

This is the sort of thing I think about in my many idle moments.

Birdwatchers, by the way, sometimes call small birds from the trees by
either smooching or pssing.  I've never had much success with it
myself, but have seen it done.  Birds who are hiding in the foliage
will come out onto branches where they are more easily seen, evidently
to check out the source of the noise.  The pssing is supposed to be
done very loudly, much more so than when conversing with a cat.

Does this mean that birds are multilingual, speaking both Cat and Dog
as well as warbling their native woodnotes wild?


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African
Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

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