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Do Welsh cows REALLY moo with an accent?

Byline: By Peter Collins South Wales Echo

Is there such a thing as a Welsh moo?

Top linguistics expert John Wells, a professor of phonetics at the University of London, has got farmers across Britain discussing this bovine baffler.

He believes that just as with birds, cows in distinct areas learn to moo in different ways.

'In small populations such as herds you would encounter identifiable dialectical variations,' he said.

But farmers in South Wales say he is talking complete cow pat.

Vale of Glamorgan farmer Andrew Davies has been listening to his cows for more than 20 years.

He knows when they are happy and he knows when they are annoyed.

But Andrew, who owns The Garn farm, in St Hilary, near Cowbridge, laughs at any suggestions that his 250 milking cows and 250 beef cattle communicate in a discernibly Welsh moo.

He said: 'It's laughable. A cow is much like a person in that they can have their moods. That's when you notice a difference in the way they moo.

'For instance, when a cow is contented there is a gentle, smooth tone to the moo. But when it is agitated or upset there is a harsher tone which is repeated. But there is no accent.

'Again like people, younger cattle will have a higher pitched moo. As a cow gets older it drones and there is a deeper intensity to the moo.'

Andrew, 38, has been farming since he was 16 and has listened to cows brought to his farm from around Wales, South-West England and the Midlands.

'I have not noticed a regional accent to any of the moos. It's silly,' he said.

However, across the English border in Somerset, farmers had a different view.

Farmer Lloyd Green, from Glastonbury, said: 'I spend a lot of time with my ones and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl.'
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 24, 2006
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