"pssing" at cats

Rudolph C Troike rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU
Tue Jul 3 08:19:18 UTC 2001

George Thompson gets around more than most of us, and may have learned
this from some Near/Middle Easterners. The first I heard of it was from a
Turkish friend, who told me that it was the way cats are called in Turkey.
Perhaps not surprisingly, our Persian responds very readily to this, while
our Himalayan doesn't. It would be interesting to learn what the regional
distribution of this practice is (it is a sort of linguistic behavior, and
linguists should pay attention to such things, but don't usually). I
wonder how it maps compared to the Turkish gesture for "no", which is to
move the head up, then down, resembling (and often confused for) our
nodding the head down, then up, for "yes".


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