I’m a rook, like, and I mainly hang around Rory Gallagher Square in Cork. I pecks away around the square, getting the odd bits and pieces that people drop on the ground.
I’m what you call a polyglot. That means I speak a lot of languages. I mean a lot of languages. It comes easy to birds, us rooks especially.
Listen up, right? I’m only gonna say this once. You call me a crow right, but I’m not a crow, I’m a rook. A rook is one of the several species (the best in my humble opinion) of the crow family, or the term we prefer: Corvid. I prefer corvidae myself (pronounced corvidi, if you know your Latin like I do). You got your jackdaws, magpies, hooded crows and so on – they’re other species. Then there’s the exotics: the jays, choughs and ravens. That’s only for Ireland – worldwide there’s about 120 species in our family. Only saying, j’know, like?
Rooks is the most successful subspecies but that’s by the by. Our total brain to mass ratio is only bested by one other species – the human one, that likes to burn stuff and is destroying the planet. We also have larger nidopalliums than any other bird (look it up).
Main thing is: we know our talk. Alright, boy? We never shut up, actually, but that’s another story.
So anyway, I pick up languages as easy as a thrush picks up snails. Dozens boy, loads, like. I’ve yet to be bested, right? I learned Swahili from the swallows that be’s around here in the Summer; I learned Afrikaans from the swifts, although to tell you the truth it’s hard to keep up with them, they talk so fast; I learned the Russian, the Icelandic, the Norwegian and so on from the fieldfares and redwings that do be coming down here in the Winter. I know them all, boy. And, from here, I hears all them languages too, around the square, with all the people working here from all them countries.
And that’s all grand sure. Happy days, like. I’m all for diversity amn’t I? Sure rooks are black too, for starters, and there’s fierce discrimination against corvids all over the shop. Wicked species stereotyping if you ask me. That fella Hitchcock had a lot to do with it with that fillum from the sixties. A ‘murder of crows’ me bollix, it should be a murder of people, if anything.
Anyway, I’m happy that the city is full of all the different languages of the world. It means things are on the up, surely, and they’re all paying tax and all the rest. And dropping good eating stuff on the ground.
Then I was bested. I heard some young people the other day, and I couldn’t make heads or tails of what they were saying. It was like English but there was a lot of other stuff going on, with very high inflections at the ends of the sentences that threw me – as if everything they were saying was questions. And funny pronunciations, too. Maybe it was all the beards that the men had on, and the women seemed to be talking with a lot with cigarettes in their mouths. But the worst thing was the way that they moved the Cork word ‘like’ from the end of the clause (where it’s supposed to be, like) to the middle. And they were starting every sentence with the word ‘so’, which should indicate some causality from the previous sentence, but it didn’t. I was lost. I overheard one sentence that nearly made my feathers fall out: “So, I was like, ahaw ahaw, so drunk? that I thought, omygod omygod ahaw ahaw, that I was like, going to, like, die? or something? Ahaw?”
I asked a local jackdaw (jackdaws knows everything, boy) where they were from and he said they were Hipsters. I never even heard of a country called Hipsterland. I suppose I’ll pick it up in time, but who will teach me? That’s what I’m worried about. Maybe one of those young sparrows that hang around under the tables, picking up crumbs. Those guys are pretty smart, even if they are a bit cheeky.
Image from: www.irelandswildlife.com