Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/23/cows_have_accents/

Cows have regional accents, experts confirm

Major bovine linguistic breakthrough

By Lester Haines

Posted in Science, 23rd August 2006 09:13 GMT

In a major breakthrough in bovine linguistic research, experts have confirmed that cows moo with accents distinct to their herd, the BBC reports.

John Wells, professor of Phonetics at the University of London, examined West Country farmers' claims that their beasts were mooing with a local twang.

Lloyd Green of Glastonbury said: "I spend a lot of time with my ones and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl. I've spoken to the other farmers in the West Country group and they have noticed a similar development in their own herds. It works the same as with dogs - the closer a farmer's bond is with his animals, the easier it is for them to pick up his accent."

Professor Wells confirmed Green's observations, explaining: "This phenomenon is well attested in birds. You find distinct chirping accents in the same species around the country. In small populations such as herds you would encounter identifiable dialectical variations which are most affected by the immediate peer group."

Linguistics expert Dr Jeanine Treffers-Daller of University of the West of England in Bristol, ruminated: "When we are learning to speak, we adopt a local variety of language spoken by our parents, so the same could be said about the variation in the West Country cow moo."

The latest findings will do much to expand our understanding of the bovine world, which has in the last couple of years been enhanced by the revelations that cows enjoy a bit of girl-on-girl and bear grudges. ®