Word of the Day

Saturday, May 19, 2012

How many lives does a cat have?

Obviously one, but the saying goes that it has nine. Not in all languages, though. According to my research, with the caveat that a lot of speakers of these languages are not sure, languages that assign the animal nine lives are English, French (les chats ont neuf vies), Polish (koty mają dziewięć żyć), Slovak (mačky majú deväť životov), Hungarian (a macskáknak kilenc élete van), Romanian (pisicile au nouă vieți), Russian (у кошек дeвять жизней, u košek devjať žiznej), Dutch (katten hebben negen levens), Macedonian (мачките имаат девет животи, mačkite imaat devet životi), Bulgarian (котките имат девет живота, kotkite imat devet života), and Swedish (katter har nio liv), among others. Cats are short of two lives if they speak Portuguese (os gatos têm sete vidas), Spanish (los gatos tienen siete vidas), Italian (i gatti hanno sette vite), German (Katzen haben sieben Leben), and Czech (kočky mají sedm životů), among others.

Funny that their life span varies in neighboring countries. It would suffice for a Czech cat to cross the Polish or Slovak border to get two more lives, an Italian or Spanish feline could go live in France, a German Tom could relocate to France, Poland or the Netherlands.

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