Friday, August 25, 2006

Holy Cow!



Ruth's Photo, used with permission

Some of you know that my educational background is Linguistics. Imagine my utter surprise and delight to read today that British farmers claim their cows have regional accents.

Lloyd Green, from southwest England, was one of a group of farmers who first noticed the phenomenon.

"I spend a lot of time with my Friesians, and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl,” he said, referring to the breed of dairy cow he owns.

“I think 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.”

Apparently a similar phenomenon has been found in birds. I think it's hysterical...and totally believable. I once sat alone with a parakeet for several hours and when I finally realized how much it was talking (totally oblivious Ginnie!), I started writing down everything it said. Okay, that's one thing. But when it started whispering some things (like it's owner, Nora, did), THAT was when I freaked out with excitement as a linguist.

So YES, I believe this stuff!

17 comments:

  1. I think animals are cognitive on more levels than we give them credit for, that's for sure. For instance, this longhorn followed me around incessantly while I was snapping away, and her owner said she loves females. Now how does Ms. Longhorn know the difference?

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  2. I'll have to start listening to a Swiss accent in Dale's meows?? Now THAT will be quite a task... Already I speak to him in different languages (depending on my mood), not to mention the Dutch visitors we have regularly. I wonder how he'll be understood by other felines once in Canada. Very interesting post, Ginnie.

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  3. lol - geeze I don't have an ear for that stuff... I'm wonderng if the cat picks up anything from the dog... Im sure twist picks things up from us!

    expatraveler being lazy....

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  4. Ruth: Unbelievable! I love stories like this.

    CS: Now THAT would be a great case study with your Mr. Dale! Different languages, huh? I bet he understands them all!

    ET: Being lazy :) Thanks for commenting while being lazy. I'm not sure I have the ear for it either but it sure is fascinating.

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  5. I heard this story on the British armed forces radio station I was listening to yesterday and dang if those cows didn't all sound different to me!

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  6. Incredible. This post made me smile. :)

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  7. Dixie: Oh my! I would have loved to hear it myself.

    Lisa: Me, too! :)

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  8. Great post and lovely picture (yes, I've been to Ruth to say so too:-). We had a ondulat (a little blue bird) when I was young and she sais 'good morning' to me every day. I'm a beliver too!
    Have a great end to your week:-)

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  9. That is fascinating and a great picture you borrowed, too. Love it!

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  10. I love that cow photo :) I can't say I have ever notice the animals accents around here, but then I have never listened.

    I probably picked up my cat's accents rather than them mine...I was always completely under their paws/thumb.

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  11. Renny: Awww. So sweet about your little bird. Those memories stay forever! You, too, have a great weekend.

    Tim: It was fun, wasn't it :)

    DW: I love Ruth's photo, too. I'm so glad I had a way to show it off :) HA about your cats--I have always heard that about them.

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  12. I didn't know you studied linguistics- how interesting. I have some exciting news to share with you! I have been offered a job as an English teacher at a charter school that is owned by SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Arts)- so I get full SWIHA benefits, which means I'll get my Yoga Teacher Training and Tai Shiatzu training FREE! I also teach Drama and Nutrition- talk about a perfect match for me! Hello fall break, Christmas break, Spring Break and Summer Vacation! Woo woo! If you have any ideas for my English classes dealing with linguistics(9th-12th grade), or interesting reads the students might enjoy, let me know!

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  13. Cool, Rachel! What a match indeed and how very exciting for you. Let's stay in touch on this...tho' I must add that my degree from Michigan was back in the '60s. HA. They probably have entirely new ways of teaching it now!

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  14. Let us hope so (that they have new ways of teaching). I have been learning and taking seminars on what is called "Active Learning." It is breathtaking! Based on constantly changing the states of your learners, so they are invigorated and engaged constantly. At my current job- the way the curriculum is designed and the fact that the text books do not contain information- they have to write it in during class- there is barely enough time to finish a lecture with the students all seated and quiet for 3 1/2 hours straight- I don't get to try out any fun stuff with them:( So I'm looking forward to my new position!

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  15. One thing I did learn, Rachel, which is probably still true, is that usage is what determines grammar and not the other way around. The example that comes to mind is the "you and I" error that is grammatically incorrect ("He gave the flowers to you and I") but because of it's almost "unanimous" usage is considered correct, except to the old school contingent!

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  16. I am certain that Princesse mews in French-Cat... She says MIAOU and NOT MEW... Yup! With an A in it... Yes! Yes! Believe me! :)

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  17. Awwww. So cute, MP. Yes, I believe you :)

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