How did The Author Learn The Language of Houyhnhnms?

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      The author’s principal endeavor was to learn the language which his master and his children and every servant of the house were desirous to teach him. It learns the names of various things, the author pointed to everything, and enquired the name of it, which he wrote down in his journal-book when he was alone, and corrected his bad accent by desiring those of the family to pronounce it often. In this employment, a sorrel nag, one of the under-servants, always assisted the author with great curiosity and readiness.

      To help his memory the author also formed all he learned into the English alphabet, and wrote the words down, with the translations. This way by pronouncing, repeating, writing, and asking each detail for about ten weeks time, the author could gain ability to understand most of his master's questions. It took him three months to give his master some tolerable answers in that language.

• How did the author answer the questions asked by his master after learning their language for three months?

      Ans. In about ten weeks time the author was able to understand most of his master's questions, and in three months could give him some tolerable answers. The gray horse was extremely curious to know from what part of the country he come, and how he was taught to imitate a rational creature; because the Yahoos of his land, who had some appearance of cunning and the strongest disposition to mischief were observed to be the most un teachable of all brutes. The author answered that he came over the sea, from a far place, with many others of his own kind, in a great hollow vessel made of the bodies of trees; that his companions forced him to land on that coast, and then left him to fend for himself It was with some difficulty, and by the help of many signs, that the author brought the horse to understand him. It was difficult for the master horse to believe what the author told him since as per his knowledge it was impossible that there could be a country beyond the sea, or that a company of Yahoos could move a wooden vessel where they pleased upon water. He was sure no Houyhnhnm alive could make such a vessel, nor would trust Yahoos to manage it. The master horse could not imagine a civilized country where Yahoos were the presiding race and Houyhnhnms kept in servitude.

• What did the author tell the master horse about himself and his country after he was quite comfortable in their language?

      Ans. The author told the master horse that he had come from a very far country by traveling upon the seas in a great hollow vessel made of wood, and larger than his house. He described the ship to him in the best terms he could, and explained, by the help of his handkerchief how it was driven forward by the wind. He narrated how he came to be set on shore on that coast, where he walked forward, without knowing where, till the master horse rescued him from the persecution of those execrable Yahoos. The master horse asked him who made the ship, and how it was possible that the Houyhnhnms of his country would leave it to the management of brutes. The author told him that the ship was made by creatures like himself who in all the countries he had traveled, as well as in his own, were the only governing, rational animals. The author also revealed his astonishment to see the Houyhnhnms act like rational beings as the master or his friends could be in finding some marks of reason in a creature he was pleased to call a Yahoo. He also assured the master that if good fortune ever restored him to his native country, to relate his travels there, everybody would believe that he said the thing that was not; that he invented the story out of his own head; and, with all possible respect to the master horse, his family and friends, and under his promise of not being offended, the author dared to tell him that his countrymen would hardly think it probable that a Houyhnhnm should be the presiding creature of a nation and Yahoo the brute.

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