"pssing" at cats

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Tue Jul 3 12:04:15 UTC 2001


The same in Greece (and other Balkan areas). Roman Jakobson
speculated that up-and-down no comes from pulling on the reins of a
horse, while back-and-forth yes comes from letting th reins hang
free. Cute huh?


>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".
>         Rudy

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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