Come, fluffy sponge, the image of true sheep

Shopping yesterday I saw this "doggy sponge":

Heh, cute. A sponge shaped like a "doggy." But then I saw the "Sheepy Sponge" beside it:

Note that these two sponges have distinct functions. The doggy sponge is for cleaning the sink. The sheepy sponge is for washing things "fluffy-gently but firmly" (モコモコやさしくしっかり). Their speech balloons reinforce this: the doggy sponge is saying "Pika[t]!", mimetic of a sudden glint of light, e.g. the reflection off a freshly-cleaned sink, and the sheepy sponge is saying "Moko[t]!", mimetic of... a sudden burst of fluffiness.

So, the sheepy sponge is not simply sheep-shaped. It also mimics the characteristics of a sheep. I submit therefore that one likely explanation of its name is not "sponge shaped like a sheep," but rather, "sheep-like sponge." It is not a "sheepy." It is sheepy.

Similarly, the doggy sponge's model is explicitly identified as the scottish terrier, known for its tough, wiry coat. Thus, the word "doggy" might be better understood as "doglike; canine" rather than "dog [dimun.]"

My suggested follow-up research program would focus on future products released by the same company. Product names using comparatives or superlatives ("doggier sponge," "cattiest tea-towel") would constitute evidence in support of my hypothesis, while names containing unambiguously nounal descriptors would be evidence in the other direction. Although they might pose entirely new interpretation problems as well: "parakeet drying tray," etc.

Popularity factor: 9


We have the sheepy sponge. I recommend it.


Researchers must have gone through years of testing, cleaning sinks with live cats, various types of dogs, perhaps guinea pigs for those corner areas, before determining that Scottish Terriers cleaned best, and then making a sponge with Scottish Terrier characteristics.


The catty tea towel would have to leave fibers all over your dishes.


You neglected to mention that all animal sponges (and we have had several fish sponges for our sink) must have some sort of hole to hang the sponge on.

This, BTW, is my theory of how the whole animal sponge trend started.


Marxy: Would you say that it is noticably sheepier than other sponges?

Denske: Yes, and once they'd crossed that off their lists they moved to a much bigger lab and began the sheep experiments.

Ali: I figure the catty towel sheds fibers, the cattier towel drops to the floor and gets tangled around your legs, and the cattiest towel spasms violently, hisses, and scratches you when you try to take it near the sink.

Peter: And they say natural selection couldn't produce an eye! I'm dismayed to learn how boring our kitchen is here compared to those of my peers, by the way.


Sheep-like ≈ Sheepish?

I am less interested in your sheepish sponges than in your eccentric orthography. I have never seen anyone render a truncating final little tsu as [t]! before. Where did you pick that up from? I recently read of some obscure English punctuation rules that suggested a dash for truncated words or statements, but I can't remember whether they suggested an em-dash or an en-dash. I could see this being more useful here, except that it could be misread as the Japanese character dash (oops, I've forgotten what they call it.. I'm a bad orthographer).


Surely the cattiest tea-towel will be the one making the most hurtful comments about the other towels.

L.N. Hammer:

I was also made curious by that rendering of the terminal "little tsu" -- I've seen it in the past indicated by dropping the final final vowel. So, ''pik'' and ''mok'' above.



You are all quite right to notice the terminal little tsu thing. I'm not sure quite where I picked up "t" as a good way of rendering it, but it struck me as quite a good idea at the time. Of course it only works if it's an unreleased "t". It's in brackets in this post because I'm still unsure quite how I feel about it.

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