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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
Cows also 'have regional accents'
Cows in a field
Cows moo with a regional twang

Cows have regional accents like humans, language specialists have suggested.

They decided to examine the issue after dairy farmers noticed their cows had slightly different moos, depending on which herd they came from.

John Wells, Professor of Phonetics at the University of London, said regional twangs had been seen before in birds.

The farmers in Somerset who noticed the phenomenon said it may have been the result of the close bond between them and their animals.

Farmer Lloyd Green, from Glastonbury, said: "I spend a lot of time with my ones and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl.

I spend a lot of time with my ones and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl
Lloyd Green

"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."

Peer pressure

Prof Wells felt the accents could result from their contemporaries.

He said: "This phenomenon is well attested in birds. You find distinct chirping accents in the same species around the country.

"This could also be true of cows.

"In small populations such as herds you would encounter identifiable dialectical variations which are most affected by the immediate peer group."

Dr Jeanine Treffers-Daller, reader in linguistics at the University of the West of England in Bristol, agreed that the accent could be influenced by relatives.

She said: "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."

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