When it comes to learning a second language, immersion is a universally trusted technique. So why, after 16 years of brute English immersion, can’t Chorky the cat speak a single word?
“I don’t know where I went wrong,” exclaims Chorky’s owner PJ Aaberg. “I talk to myself all the time and constantly try to initiate conversations with Chorky to encourage his English skills. I’ll ask ‘how was your day?’ or ‘do you know Tony the Tiger?’ and get nothing but a cold little shoulder blade thrown in my direction.”
Aaberg reports that Chorky continues to rely on his mother tongue, frequently alienating Aaberg from conversations with chipmunks and birds.
“If he prefers having small talk with woodland creature passersby instead of rich, intellectual discussions with me, then so be it,” huffed Aaberg.
There is evidence that Chorky has gained some listening skills through immersion, allowing him to identify key words and intonation when he decides to apply himself.
“When I ask in a foolishly high, condescending voice if he wants food, he’ll gleefully trot over with zero hesitation,” states Aaberg. “But he then continues to thank me in his native language. Just once I’d love to hear, ‘Thank you so much for my soggy chicken-based din-din. You look absolutely baller scooping it out of the can, and I love you.’”
Although this is evident progress, Aaberg has made the decision to send Chorky to a family in Italy to see if Italian will be a more effective match. In bocca al lupo, Chorky!