the dog barking

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the dog barking

Post by azz » Thu Jan 20, 2022 6:38 am

a. The dog barking was coming from the house next door.
b. The dog's barking was coming from the house next door.


It seems to me that in (a) the dog is coming from the house next door while in (b) the barking is coming from the house next door.

Is that correct?

Is (a) in any way ambiguous?
Could it be used instead of (b)?
Would some people sometimes use (a) instead of (b)?

Many thanks
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Re: the dog barking

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Jan 20, 2022 10:26 pm

"The barking dog was in the house next door", would take away the ambiguity.
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
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Re: the dog barking

Post by trolley » Fri Jan 21, 2022 3:08 am

The barking was coming from the house next door.
No need to mention the dog. We will all just assume it was a dog. If you meant that anything other than a dog was barking...I'm sure you would have said so.
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Re: the dog barking

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jan 21, 2022 7:31 am

When I lived in the USA my wife would sometimes return home from a day in the office and exclaim, ”My dogs are barking!". By this she meant that her feet were feeling sore. But she rarely mentioned her feet as such when making this announcement.

For some reason, in Britain this particular expression doesn't carry the connotation of foot soreness except to any Americans who hear it, which in turn usually requires the presence of one American with sore feet who for some reason considers it necessary to announce the fact of having them to another American who happens to be within earshot. As the probability of this particular conjunction of circumstances is presumably minimal in Great Britain, I would assess the frequency of its utterance in the British Isles as being roughly on a par with that of a partial lunar eclipse.

The obvious exception is when a British dog owner is stating that their dogs are actually barking at that moment. On the other hand, this ought to be sufficiently obvious to anyone in the vicinity of the dog owner that it should hardly need to be announced separately unless the interlocutor was deaf and therefore couldn't hear the dogs themselves -- in which case they would probably also have trouble hearing the announcement.

Anyway, at this point I ought to mention that the nearest dog to us was the overweight black cairn terrier next door with the chronically luxating hip joint and reduced kidney function. His owners Matt and Stacia had decided to call him Ian, to acknowledge his Scottish ancestry.

To my mind, Ian's name was far better suited to an accountant with a centre parting and a nervous tic than to any Highland warriors I might happen to know -- let alone to a dog -- but when I was first informed of it Ian was already so set in his ways that it was too late to suggest he be given a name more in keeping with his Scottish doggedness, such as Callum or Fergus.

To his credit, Ian was usually fairly quiet.

The chief exception to this rule became evident whenever the lawn sprinklers popped up within his sight or hearing. Despite his physical deficiencies he possessed senses that seemed to have been fine-tuned to detect the sonic frequency range and visual trigger pattern of the sprinklers.

When the sprinklers started spraying, if Ian was around they would unfailingly set him going on an orgasmic paroxysm of barking and growling that he enjoyed to the full, running from one sprinkler zone to the next as they came on in turn, standing with his head right above the active sprinklers and yapping at them until the point came, some thirty minutes later, that the timer switched off the water to the last zone, the sound of the spraying would stop, the sprinkler heads popped back down into the lawn, and Ian would shimmy over to the kitchen slider to be let in to honour his food bowl.

Whether Matt and Stacia had rewarded this full-throated response to the sprinklers by means of some kind of Pavlovian training I can't say for sure. But I cannot rule out the possibility that they had done so, rather as some parents amuse themselves by teaching their toddlers to curse in order to shock their neighbours and extended family with their offspring's advanced vocabulary.

Barking at sprinklers, plus eating (which he did as often as he could), was Ian's main hobby, except for sleeping.

In all fairness, even though to me seeing the sprinklers go off lost its novelty value pretty quickly and only regained it after the pump had broken down or the sprinkler heads had clogged up, Ian seemed to get a lot out of his hobby in the form of excitement, exercise, the chance to cool off in hot weather, and the thrill of the risk of his hip dislocating itself again during any given sprinkler-chasing session.

In other words, the summer was never dull when Ian was out in the yard. His barking could even be useful, in the sense that when he failed to bark at the times set for the sprinklers to go off we knew there were just three likely possibilities. Either Ian was indoors, or he was visiting the vet having his thighbone reinstated in his hip, or the sprinklers were on the blink again.
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