The Monolingual sniffer dog and the lonely rabbi

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The current global order has thrown up yet another bewildering language problem: the monolingual sniffer dog! I glean the following from a recent NYT article about Rabbis in Montana: with all the concerns about homeland security, the US has an expanding need for sniffer dogs. Training sniffer dogs locally is costly (the article quotes US$ 20,000 for a “bomb dog”) so the business is being outsourced to those who can do it cheaper and much like sneakers a sniffer dog is “assembled” internationally. In the case reported on in the article, the dog was bred in the Netherlands, then shipped to Israel for training, and then imported to Montana to serve with the Helena Police Department. The problem arose when the dog-handler in Helena discovered that the dog had been trained on Hebrew commands and wouldn’t respond to his English-accented pronunciation of those commands.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationLanguage on the move
PublisherLanguage on the move
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2009

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • 200401 applied linguistics and educational linguistics
  • 200405 language in culture and society (sociolinguistics)

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