We’re halfway through the summer. Summer: the time we promised ourselves we’d get caught up on our reading. Visions of lying out by the pool, or on a sandy beach, digging into those materials we’ve been saving for just such an occasion!
So let me add a couple of things to your reading list, and hope you will find them as edifying as I did. Communication wears many hats!
- The first is an unlikely candidate: Inside of a Dog – What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, by Alexandra Horowitz. The author is a behavioral scientist who teaches psychology at Barnard College, Columbia University. Before that, Horowitz worked as a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster and was a staffer at the New Yorker. The result was this #1 New York Times Bestseller.
Inside of a Dog is virtually loaded with good doggy stuff – but you do not have to be a dog lover to appreciate the research, and the human connections she makes. In talking about Rico, a border collie she characterizes as a “skilled word user” for his ability to understand, and to retrieve the correct toy from the more than 200 items in his toy chest, she tells us that there are dogs whose “cognitive equipment” is sufficient for them understand language “in the right context.” Subsequent to Rico’s celebrity, many other dogs have been tested with vocabularies of from 80 to more than 300 words. Be careful what you say in front of your dog! Continue reading