This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Nuts and Boots: hoo hoo hoo the funky gibbon.



Hoo. It's a word used in West Yorkshire and Lancashire. It means she

Hoo is used in other languages too. In fact in Mo Singto in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, it's the basis of a whole language.

No, really, it is: it's the language of Hylobates lar, or the Lar gibbon.

Hylobates lar pair of white and black 01.jpg

As far as humans could hear, the Lar gibbons were just making the sound...hoo. Any difference between one hoo and the other could only be detected by analysing the peak frequency, low frequency, delta frequency, duration and inter-call interval of the hoos.

After 117 heroic days and 600 hours of listening the researchers had heard 462 hoos - and even then there weren't enough hoos on the (probable) subjects of separation and snakes to analyse them with any confidence.

But a beginning has been made. Some Lar gibbon hoos definitely say Beware eagle! and some say Beware big cat! 

Now, plainly some hoos could quite easily say where did you get that fruit, you might have told me about it instead of sneaking off and stuffing your face, don't you know we've got a family to raise? But so far research hasn't managed to delve that deeply. (And if you think I'm just being silly, here, bonobos have calls which vary according to the quality of the food on offer.)

All in all, this shows that just  because you can't understand something, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I hope very much that one day that someone somewhere will be able to sit down and have a really good chat in with a Lar gibbon.

And all in the language of hoo.

Word To Use Today: hoo. The word meaning she comes from the Old English heo. Who comes from the Old English hwā.

**Sorry about the type sizing, but if I try to make it bigger it goes and overlaps itself.**

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