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Dog Talk: Every Dog Has His Day

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Dog Talk: Every Dog Has His

A look at dog-related expressions. Transcript of radio broadcast:
06 December 2008

Now, the VOA Special
English program, Words and Their Stories.

Americans use many
expressions with the word dog. People in the United States love their
dogs and treat them well. They take their dogs for walks, let them play outside
and give them good food and medical care. However, dogs without owners to care
for them lead a different kind of life. The expression, to lead a dog’s
describes a person who has an unhappy existence.

Some people say we live in
a dog-eat-dog world. That means many people are competing for the same
things, like good jobs. They say that to be successful, a person has to work
like a dog.
This means they have to work very, very hard. Such hard work
can make people dog-tired. And, the situation would be even worse if
they became sick as a dog.

Still, people say every
dog has its day.
This means that every person enjoys a successful period
during his or her life. To be successful, people often have to learn new
skills. Yet, some people say that you can never teach an old dog new tricks.
They believe that older people do not like to learn new things and will not
change the way they do things.

Some people are compared to
dogs in bad ways. People who are unkind or uncaring can be described as meaner
than a junkyard dog.
Junkyard dogs live in places where people throw away
things they do not want. Mean dogs are often used to guard this property. They
bark or attack people who try to enter the property. However, sometimes a
person who appears to be mean and threatening is really not so bad. We say his
bark is worse than his bite.

A junkyard is not a fun
place for a dog. Many dogs in the United States sleep in safe little houses
near their owners’ home. These doghouses provide shelter. Yet they can be cold
and lonely in the winter.

Husbands and wives use this
doghouse term when they are angry at each other. For example, a woman
might get angry at her husband for coming home late or forgetting their wedding
anniversary. She might tell him that he is in the doghouse. She may not
treat him nicely until he apologizes. However, the husband may decide that it
is best to leave things alone and not create more problems. He might decide to
let sleeping dogs lie.

Dog expressions also are
used to describe the weather. The dog days of summer are the hottest
days of the year. A rainstorm may cool the weather. But we do not want it to
rain too hard. We do not want it to rain cats and dogs.


This VOA Special English
program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, was written by Jill Moss. I’m Faith Lapidus



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