Ep054: Expression – Has A Cat Got Your Tongue?

In today’s episode I explain what the expression “Has a cat got your tongue?” means, as well as how and when to use it.

Download the full PDF transcript here.
has a cat got your tongue, cat, tongue, aussie, english, aussie english

Ep054: Expression – Has a cat got your tongue?

G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English.

Today is yet another expression involving animals. I’m sure you’re probably getting sick of this guys but at the moment I love these and I want to pump them out, I want to make as many of these episodes to help you guys as I can, and again, just to remind you, these are all phrases that I hear or that I use really often. So, they’re definitely the kinds of things that you are going to encounter, that you’re going to come across when speaking English with native English speakers. And I might add that most, if not all, of these phrases are used ubiquitously, so across English English, American English, New Zealand English, Australian English. For the most part, these phrases are used by all of us. So, they’re not just specific Aussie English phrases.

So, today’s phrase is “Has a cat got your tongue?” “Has a cat got your tongue?” So, the phrase, or expression, or idiom “has a cat got your tongue” is said to someone when something’s been said, something’s been asked of that person and they remain silent. So, someone is silent, they’re not talking when they’re expected to be speaking. So, if you’ve… if you’ve asked someone something and they didn’t respond or they can’t response or they’re choosing not to respond, you could say to that person “has a cat got your tongue?”

So, let’s go through and define a cat and tongue.

A cat”, it’s an animal. Similar to a dog it’s a mammal. It’s got fur, it’s got a tail, it’s got claws. Um… it meows, “meow, meow, meow”. That’s a cat. It’s a domestic animal. They catch mice and rats. Um… they tend to hate dogs. They don’t always get along with dogs, and they… they fight from time to time. And so that’s a cat.

The word “tongue”, the word “tongue”, is the part of your mouth inside of your mouth. It’s the large muscle that you use to make sound, or that you use to change the sound when you speak in order to speak. So, it’s the little bit of um… muscle in between your teeth. You lick things with your tongue. That’s a tongue.

So, when would you use the expression, “Has a cat got your tongue?” You could do it when say you’ve asked someone a question that’s difficult or not. Um… say, say, I lost my father’s watch, you know. It’s a really expensive watch and I lost it. He asked if I knew where it was and I said nothing. I just stayed silent and looked at him confused like I didn’t know what to say, you know, I could even just say, “Ehhhhh”. He could say to me “Ah… has a cat got your tongue?” So, it’s sort of like, “why aren’t you talking? Tell me the answer. What’s going on? Has a cat got your tongue?”

Another example could be say, your mother is asking you as a boy for example who’s been seeing a girl and she wants to know more information about this girl, and she could be probing, she could be prodding you with a whole bunch, with a whole lot of questions, saying, you know, “Who is this girl? Where’s she from? What are her parents like?” you know, um…, “What does she look like? What does she do?” And if you don’t reply, you just remain silent when your mother is obviously expecting you to say something and to tell her a little bit about this girl that you are seeing, that you are dating, that you’re going out with, um… she could say do you, you know, “Why aren’t you telling me anything? Has a cat got your tongue? Speak up. Why are you silent? Tell me all of these things. Has a cat got your tongue? What’s up?”

So, let’s go through some exercises guys, and today we’ll just do some repetition ones where you guys can practice after me. And the first one is:

“Cat got your tongue?”

“Cat got your tongue?”

“Cat got your tongue?”

“Cat got your tongue?”

“Cat got your tongue?”

“Cat got your tongue?”

“Cat got your tongue?”

So, you’ll notice here too with this expression guys, it’s a question. So I’m raising my intonation at the end of the phrase because I’ve turfed, I’ve chucked, I’ve removed the part of the phrase, “Has a cat got your tongue”. So, you can often here it as, “Cat got your tongue?” where they’ve removed the “has a” and I raise my intonation at the end of the sentence. So, I say, “Cat got your tongue?” In order to show people that it’s a question, that I expect an answer. Where as if you said, “Cat got your tongue” it sounds like it’s a statement not a question. I’ll also mention in there when I said “cat got your tongue”, when I say this quickly, because of the “t” at the end of “got” and the “y” at the start of “your”, when you have those come together in sentences “got your” it often becomes a “gotcha”. So you’ll turn the “T-Y” there on the end and the start of the two words “got” and “your” into a “cha” to make it, um… to make them link better so that they kind of… they’re smoother when you speak. So I’ll say, “Cat gotcha tongue?” instead of, “Cat got your tongue?” See how I have to sort of say, “Cat got your tongue”. It’s a lot easier when I speak quickly to just say, “Cat gotcha tongue”.

“Cat gotcha tongue”

“Cat gotcha tongue”

“Cat gotcha tongue”

So, that’s the first exercise guys. The next one will be two questions. One after the other. The first being, “What’s the matter?”, “What’s the matter?”. And then the second one being the full, “Has a cat got your tongue?” So this is what you will hear together quite often when someone says to you “What’s the matter? Has a cat got your tongue?”.

“What’s the matter? Has a cat got your tongue?”

“What’s the matter? Has a cat got your tongue?”

“What’s the matter? Has a cat got your tongue?”

“What’s the matter? Has a cat got your tongue?”

“What’s the matter? Has a cat got your tongue?”

“What’s the matter? Has a cat got your tongue?”

“What’s the matter? Has a cat got your tongue?”

And so I’ll add here, guys, that because I have “has a” at the front of the sentence “has a cat got your tongue?” it’s obvious it’s a question. So, you can raise the intonation. You can say “Has a cat got your tongue?”. You can raise it there. You can say “Has a cat got your tongue?”. Or you can have it neutral or going down. So, like “Has a cat got your tongue?” or “Has a cat got your tongue?”. It doesn’t matter because you’ve got the “has a” at the start. Whereas if you remove the “has a” and you’re saying more of a statement that you want to be a question, there’s no verb at the start of it to make it obvious that it’s a question, you have to raise your intonation. “Cat got your tongue?”, “Has a cat got your tongue?”, “Has a cat got your tongue?”.

So, they’re the different phrases that we’ll do for today’s episode guys. I hope you enjoyed it. Again, come on Facebook, send me an email, jump on the website. Let me know what you think. And if you have any questions about issues you’re having with um… English, whether it’s Aussie English or just English in general please let me know and I would love to do an episode on any of your problems, phrases, slang words, whatever it is. Until next time guys have a nice one!

 

If you liked this expression episode guys then please jump over here and check out all the other Aussie English expression episodes to help you improve your Aussie English.

Also be sure to come over to the Aussie English Facebook page and chat to the many other Aussie English learners. Practice a few of these words or phrases, ask any questions you may have, and be a part of the conversation! All the best guys!