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I'm thinking about some paradox. We all love dogs and  know that they are wonderful creatures, our best friends...

But in our languages (I mean first of all mine)  there are plenty of phrases, also idiomatic expressions, proverbs with a dog in very negative context or meaning. Linquists say that languages change slower than a world around us. A houndred years ago our attitude to dogs was more like objects. The life of the dogs was definitely tougher, they were first of all  functional, working. And in the lanquage is recorded  this time. 

In Polish still  there is a lot of negative expressions with a dog. Some are similar to English: "to lead a dog's life", "you dirty dog!", "to treat somebody like a dog", "to go to the dogs", "dog in the manger".  Poor dog is involved as a subject in many others. We use him to bad-mouth somebody ("wieszać na kimś psy"), to lie through one's teeth ("łgać jak pies"), to serve faithfully ("służyć jak pies"), to call inedible mushrooms, foul weather....We even call cop a dog - "pies". Dog is used as a part of many curses too.

I went through English vocabulary and found a lot of bad phrases. And only few fine, f.e  "dog days" - I like it!

How is in your languages, your tradition, your culture. Do you have more positive expressions with a dog.

Maybe we should create new phrases, new expressions to voice our care, enthusiasm and love for dogs. As James has said: Life is better with a setter! What next...

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Ahh in Australia it can also be the dark horse.

Interesting semantics here. I think the underdog brings out sympathy...he/ she needs our support, and the dark horse demands our respect and admiration because they are quietly 'doing it by themselves' -the surprise element.

Oh I love this thread:)

Thanks Ronda and Sue:-)

Interesting commentary about the meanings of this two expressions. Thanks Sue that you like this topic too:-)

I am an editor/journalist. I work with words (Polish!). I love to play with words, talk about our language. There is a broadcast in our radio station I am crazy about. The secretary of Polish Language Council is explaining different problems with grammar, meanings etc. Everyone can send to her an email with  the questions. My favourites are ethymological stories. She explains everything, especially phraseology, idioms, showing  the changes of the sense of the words over the centuries. For me fascinating:-)

There is an old political statement about ' reds under the bed'. It brings up wonderful images about my Irish boys and our bed. Will have to change it to ' Reds on the bed' as this is the daily realtity.

At my home there were/still is also "reds on the bed" - I think it's perfect look!

Have we had 'dog collar' that vicars wear. Then there is 'dogged'...obstinately determined; and 'dog eared' or shabby and worn out. Oh and 'doggie paddle' my first swimming stroke, and I haven't really improved much:)

So then there's 'going to the dogs'....no not greyhound racing! but sadly another negative term. And my final one'a general dogsbody' so someone who gets to do all the menial jobs.

Thanks Sue, lot of new expression. I didn,t know vicar's collar. In Polish we swim like a dog too and this is the very first and simple stroke:-)

I think that in English is much better with "doggish" expressions than in Polish. You have quite a lot of positive ones, with liking. 

"All dogs go to heaven" which means they are loving devoted creatures and when they sin it is usually their owner at fault

hair of the dog that bit you is said to refer the country magic that if you put hair from the dog onto your wound you would not get rabies.by shakespeares era it came to mean getting over a hangover by taking another drink the next day

Thank you for the origin of hair of the dog.
I love that kind of stuff. Leave it to Shakesperians to involve alcohol.

The last one brings a dreadfull tale to mind. I had brought students landscape plans home to mark as it is easier to spread them out on my large table. I came back from getting a cup of tea and discovered young Kerry dragging off a rolled plan in his sharp baby teeth mouth. Thank goodness he had just damaged the margins. I did have to confess to the class and the student that my Irish pup had tried to eat her homework. Red faced I give students the benefit of the doubt when they tell me this line now.

Thanks David, I think first phrase is definitely true, they deserve it. I saw lately so many stray dogs and homeless people. My neighbours run children's home. Absolutely there is something wrong with human beings.Thanks God we have such a great four legged friends.

We have one terrifying country magic cure. It's dog's lard. There are still people that believe it's remedy.




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