271 True Language
Chapter 271: True Language
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
When it came to making pranks, both Zhang Zian and Richard were very talented, especially Richard, so when it heard that Little Celery was mocked by others because of its patching up of Zhang Zian’s lie, Richard felt really upset and angry. Zhang Zian told Richard about what happened with Yi Le and his mother, Gu Le, at the gate of the pet shop. He was just being nice and trying to help out, but that brat wronged him, and his mother, who didn't know the truth, believed her child’s lie and thought that Zhang Zian was a bad man.
"Quack, quack! I agree, we have to teach this brat a lesson, or he will be a big troublemaker in the future," said Richard, "When I was at the hospital, there were always some kids who wanted to pull off my feathers, which was totally intolerable."
Richard and Zhang Zian discussed for a while, and determined the general plan. As for the details, they would improvise solutions when problems occurred. Anyways, they were determined to teach that brat a lesson.
Teaching that kid a lesson was just a piece of cake. If that kid dared to come to the pet shop again, punishment would be waiting for him. Seeing that the two red-headed lovebirds had enjoyed the feast and looked good, he inquired Richard, "Do you need my help in training them?"
"Quack, quack!" Richard raised its head surprisingly and stared at him, "How did you know that I need help?"
Zhang Zian smiled mystically but did not answer. Of course, he knew from Galaxy that Richard was in need of help, but if he told Richard that, how could he continue to be a smarty-pants?
Richard waited for a while with confusion as his answer, but Zhang Zian still didn't answer, so it said, "Quack, quack! You seem to be getting smarter? Is that how the proverb goes, ‘he who lies down with dogs must rise up with fleas?’ Anyways, you will never rival my intelligence, no matter how smart you are. But I really do need someone to help me..."
Richard turned around and looked at Fina, Snowy Lionet and Old Time Tea, "A human’s help is not enough — I’ll even need to borrow the cats’ claws for help."
"What? You want them to help out too?" Zhang Zian was stunned and thought to himself, what's going on? Galaxy had only mentioned that Richard needed his and Sun Xiaomeng’s help. It hadn’t said anything about the cats’ help…Had the direction of the future been changed at some point?
He was so nervous that his back began to sweat, even on this cold day.
Richard said disdainfully, "That was just an IQ test question, and you failed, just as I expected. Just when I thought you were getting smarter these days. That was a Japanese expression, directly translated into Chinese as ‘even want to borrow cats’ hands’, meaning that someone is very busy. You really think that I would let those three stupid..."
Zhang Zian's pinched Richard’s beak before it could say the word "cats".
"Be careful, that your mouth will get you killed," he warned Richard before releasing his hand.
But Zhang Zian felt relieved. It seemed like the future hadn’t been changed.
Old Time Tea did not understand what they were talking about, but Richard’s tone was clearly looking down upon the cats. The cat hummed coldly, picked up a green bird feather on the ground, curled its claw around it and bounced it at Richard. The bird feather spun in the air and made a pale green trajectory, flying directly towards Richard’s butt.
Richard had suffered this pain once. Seeing that the feather was about to hit its butt, Richard fluttered its wings and tried to jump upwards, and made a near escape. The green feather swept just beneath its butt, crashed on the wall, and then fell on the ground.
"Quack, quack! Why do you like fighting so much? Can’t we just talk nicely? As the proverb goes, ‘a gentleman uses his tongue, but not his fists’." Richard hid behind Zhang Zian and made its protest against Old Time Tea. Too bad — the protest had little effect.
Old Time Tea acted like nothing had happened and drank its tea quietly.
For the second time, Richard understood the fact that it was at the lowest level of the food chain of this pet shop, but luckily Zhang Zian was also at the bottom with it.
"You can also speak Japanese?" Richard’s Japanese accent sounded authentic, so Zhang Zian asked curiously.
"Of course, Japanese is not a complicated language." Richard was still frightened, and its reaction was a little bit slow, "Why are you asking?"
"You know..." Zhang Zian winked and made signs towards it.
"Just watch your Japanese adult videos — what do you need translation for?"
Zhang Zian hastily pinched its beak again, "Don't say it out loud in public..."
Richard made some muffled sounds, and Zhang Zian released his hand.
"Pooh, pooh," Richard complained grouchily. "Wow, so you know it’s inappropriate..."
Zhang Zian looked around and saw that Fina and Snowy Lionet were staring at him with ooks mixed with disdain, disgust and despise. Old Time Tea turned up the volume of the TV and pretended it didn't hear them. Galaxy was playing hide and seek carefreely and chasing the American Shorthair.
Zhang Zian looked at Richard seriously, "Let’s just get back to business. How do you want me to help?"
Richard thought and said, "Do you know what ‘decoding’ is?"
Zhang Zian thought he for sure wasn’t a dementia patient, so how could he not know that? So he answered right away, "Did you just say D-E-C-O-D-I-N-G, decoding?"
"Yes, but decoding is the professional term of the computer and electronic communication field, and there is a counterpart theory in linguistics," said Richard, all high and mighty. "The nature of daily communication, whether it be in the human or animal world, is the delivery of information, which is accomplished through languages. People use multiple linguistic means to encode, send, receive and decode information, so as to reach the goal of delivering information. Such linguistic means include, but are not limited to, voices, characters, gestures, images, and computer codes. Even for me, it's impossible to know all the linguistic means."
Richard paused, hopped to the water bowl, drank some water to wet its throat, and then continued, "I need to teach these stupid parrots to speak. And speaking is ‘spoken language’, which totally depends on voices to deliver information. It involves another professional term—segment. When we talk about ‘segments’, we are mostly talking about the languages in the Indo-European Language Family. ‘Segment’ is also applicable to the Sino-Tibetan Language Family, but that’s more complicated. Do you know the Big Four Language Families?"
"No, I don’t."
"Forget it. What an ignorant moron." Richard sighed, "Leave these details aside, just listen to me carefully."
Zhang Zian focused like he was preparing for the college entrance exam. He opened his eyes wide and listened carefully, trying hard to digest this knowledge—perhaps he could show off with it to look smart someday.
"Segment in linguistics is the counterpart to code in computer and electronic communication. Code is the basic meaningful unit in computer language, while segment is the basic unit in linguistics." Richard got back to the business, "Decoding and encoding in computer language, when it comes to linguistics, the corresponding expression becomes the dividing and recombining of segments. Can you understand that?"
"No, I don't." Zhang Zian answered honestly. He was completely dumb.
Richard had grown used to his stupidity and explained further, "If you master the skills to divide and recombine segments, you can extrapolate many words from one. For example, if you truly understand the words ‘grey parrot’ and ‘green’, you can coin a new word like ‘green parrot’. This is the fundamental distinction between ‘repeating the words of others like a parrot’ and true speaking."
Richard looked at Zhang Zian haughtily and seriously, "And what I am going to teach them is true speaking."
"Grey! Grey!" As if attesting for Richard, the red-headed lovebirds almost shouted at the same time.