On Dog and Cat Language
Imagine that in the future, dogs and cats acquire the power of speech. This may be by evolution, or by our genetic manipulation, or a combination of the two; and the result gives dogs and cats the full human mental mechanics of vocabulary acquisition and grammar; by which they could send messages of great complexity and specificity.
I predict that they would express this ability in different ways. Dogs would learn the human’s language; they would struggle to approximate human pronunciation; and it would mostly be about giving human orders to the dogs. Typical dog utterance; “What can I do for you?” The dogs would also talk to each other, in a doggy sub-dialect of the human language, with more words about smells. Some of these neologisms will be appropriated by the humans.
Whereas the cats would teach a language to their humans; it would be in normal cat sounds, which the humans will clumsily approximate in reply; and it would be mostly about giving cat orders to the humans. Typical cat utterance; “What’s in it for me?” It would be a private language, known to the cat and its human alone. The cats would never converse directly; but they will often use a human to relay insults to each other.
In theory a two-timing cat can pass secret messages from one human to another; but only if the humans can motivate the cat to do so.