Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Doc Barbara's new linguistic mission

  Doc Barbara is always on the alert for a new enterprise that will present a challenge for her many skills but also aid humanity or the animal world.
   She has recently embarked on such a quest: to teach a species the power of speech. The first step was to decide which language to instruct and, because of her innate patriotism, it had to be English. She also felt that British-reared creatures would be accustomed to the sounds of the native tongue and might take fright at the sudden introduction of a French subjunctive as do all school children. It is, after all, a relatively recent phenomenon, being one of William's many cruel impositions on the natives when he conquered us 950 years ago.
   The next step was to choose a species: her first option was the horse because she wanted to attract the attention of whole groups so that numbers of mammalian  linguists could benefit simultaneously. She commenced with a whinnying sound such as she makes involuntarily when she spots a large piece of lemon drizzle cake in a café to consume with her mug of Mocha. [She has been banned from one patisserie: Ed]

   As you can see from the photo above, the horses initially responded well to her vocalisations but, once they realised she did not have a pocketful of equine delicacies, they resumed their grazing.
   Doc Barbara persevered and used the shouts that she felt they would recognise such as "Whoa there" but the resultant traffic jam caused her to desist. The policeman who appeared was unconvinced by her explanation and opined that some things were better left as they were. This is NOT Doc Barbara's philosophy: she feels the world is her oyster to be opened and consumed with relish, by choice piri-piri - [possibly this metaphor is getting out of hand: Ed] Yet, as she frequently states: "Every dog has its own trumpet."

   Help is always nearby as she can call upon our intern, Belinda Twaddle, for support and assistance in her hour of need. Belinda has taken the slogan: "Keep calm and carry on" to heart but finds the first clause too tricky for her excitable and impulsive nature. Asked which species would be more amenable to language acquisition, she spent many hours of research and came up with an answer.

  Belinda asserts that she has induced intriguing and meaningful noises from this hippo in response to her philosophical observations (in particular, it grunted the word "mud" when asked what is the meaning of life) and the two indomitable women are set to carry on. [They really do carry on: Ed]  More research is needed, since, as Doc Barbara also points out: "Buying a pig in a haystack is the thief of time." We will keep our loyal readers informed; unlike some, we are not averse to giving a running commentary.

To read about Doc Barbara's other animal exploits such as her worm-training programme, click here. Ditto her campaign to encourage frogs to mate vigorously and frequently.

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