Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Can dogs smile?


Can dogs smile? Looking at these pictures I think there is evidence to believe they do.
For my birthday today I asked for ,and received, an early edition of John Bunyans Pilgrims Progress. This piece of 17th century English literature was something I absolutely loathed studying at school. However, I've recently come to realise that everyday English as spoken in England is rapidly losing much of the richness and diversity that used to be its hallmark . It might be dumbing down but more probably it's just that people use fewer words to convey their thoughts. I'm going to use my time this summer to revisit some of those dutiful works that underpinned the sense of our cultural 'exceptionalism' and rediscover some of my lost vocabulary. The font of all knowledge says it's a sign of middle age.
What got me started on this rediscovery of language was a conversation with a friend who developed cancer ( thankfully now cured ). I naturally told him that he would be in our 'thoughts and prayers'. I didn't mean the 'prayer' part so much in an overtly religious way but rather in the sense that his travails would not be shouldered alone and that we would be there whenever needed. He expressed appreciation for our support but made an interesting statement that people today are deeply embarrased about showing personal feelings. Most people would say 'you're in our thoughts' but would find it difficult to express their feelings in a less general and more personal way. They certainly wouldn't say you're 'in our prayers' in case it caused offence. Previous generations of course had wonderful stock formulas for dealing with lifes different phases - something that we have lost . We stick with the 'thoughts' but have dropped the 'prayers' out of correctness or embarassment.

4 comments:

Winchester whisperer said...

Many happy returns of the day!

Rocky Creek Scotties and Java said...

YES!! Dogs do smile - Piper always has a smile on his "happy-go-lucky" face.

I think prayers or petitions should always be expressed. Regardless of a person's god or religion, there are always pleas to a higher power.

Kudos to you for brushing up on the olde English. According to historians, we live in an area of the US where more of it is spoken than anywhere else.

Have a wonderful day and Happy Birthday.

Lynn

PS - How fitting that my word verification for this post is "revive".

kks said...

look like they're smiling to me!!

Angus said...

How kind of you all.Received a birthday card from Florida with the comment: Birthdays are wonderful but do we need them every year?

Rocky Creek : What an uplift to know that the word verification for this post is revive!