There are as many foreign words for dog as there are languages. In English, dog is, of course, the preferred nomenclature, but there are even a wide range of variants in our own tongue, with new ones popping up all the time. We’ve got pup, pupper and doggo, for instance. You might think a word like poochhas been around forever, but both the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster assert that it didn’t appear until the 1920s!How do people say dog in other languages?
What is Spanish for dog?: Romance languages
Romance languages have nothing whatever to do with wine, roses, candlelight or the 1955Disney film, Lady and the Tramp,where the titulardogs eat the same piece ofspaghetti until they’re kissing. No, we simply mean those languages thatdeveloped from Latin. Why don’t we start there?How do you say dog in Latin? The word is canis, which you’ll recognize as the root of words we use all the time, like canine and canid. Interestingly, the word for puppy—catulus—is the same word used for manybaby animals, including kittens and puppies. Little Caecilius must’ve been shocked when his parents told him he could finally havea catulus, only to find a bear cub sharing his room.
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How do you saydog in French? In the Francophone world, a male dog is achien, while its female counterpart is achienne!
What is the Dutch word for dog?: Germanic languages
Many police dogs and military dogs employed by law enforcement agencies all over the globe are bred and trained in Belgium and Germany. Agents to whom they are assigned may likewise be taughtthe basic commands of the training language. This tends to be a simpler approach, after dogs have been through a 12-16 week instruction program, then having to retrain them to acknowledge all new commands in another tongue.
How do you saydog in German?The German word fordog isHund. Nouns, including proper names, are typically capitalized in the German language. You’ll have noticed by now, that, outside of English, in whichdog is equally applicable for males and females, most other languages drawa distinction between them. In German, a female dog is called aHündin.
Languages of the Pacific Rim
Asian languages could not be more distinct from each other, due in part to historical isolation and specific dialects. Let’s look at what you’d call a dog in some of the primary languages of the Far East.How do you saydog in Japanese? You might not realize it, but you probably already know the word fordog in Japan. It’s written犬, and transcripted as “Inu,” as in the always popular Shiba Inu and the Akita Inu breeds.
In the global bazaar: Sayingdog around the world
We readily admit that even our first two language-family groupings, Romance andGermanic, are imprecise at best. Both of those language groups, and a fewindividual languageswe’ll cover next, are members of the larger Indo-European language family.
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Since dogs began living with human beings many thousands of years ago, they’ve followed us all over the world and have begged us for table scraps at every stop along the way. Dogs have crossed land bridges on foot, taken to the waves on sea-going vessels and, these days, they find homes by way of planes, trains and automobiles. Wherever they go, they find a new linguistic tradition witha different name for the species. What words fordog that we didn’t cover here are your particular favorites?