Did You Know Goats Have Accents?

Yes, apparently goats have accents. Who knew?

According to researchers at Queen Mary University of London:

Goats don’t have their own language, but they do seem able to pick up accents from one another, scientists found in a study of calls made by young goats.

The researchers say their results could have implications for our understanding of the evolution of vocal learning, or as it is known in humans, speech.

The ability to learn a range of sounds and modify them according to the environment was thought to be reserved to a handful of animals, including some birds, whales, dolphins, bats, elephants, and the most extreme example, us.

I suppose that’s why my goats here in Italy always add an extra “aaa” at the end of their calls. Kind of how my great-grandmother used to-a speak-a the English.

Whatsamatta? You no-a like-a my-a funny? Fine! I’mna-gonna-eat-a-my-a-fiori!

Pasqualina & her favorite treat

Pasqualina & her favorite treat

Seriously though, this is interesting stuff. Anyone who has ever had more than one goat knows there are sharp differences between their calls, so it does make sense to me that some of their “speech” patterns can be learned like ours are.

I just love how with every scientific discovery, it seems that humans and animals are even more closely related that we thought — confirming what so many of us already know in our hearts.

Have you ever noticed a goat’s call change after being moved into a new situation?

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11 Responses to “Did You Know Goats Have Accents?”
  1. Deb South
    02.16.2012

    I know that my goats happen to like country/gospel music. I had a doe in a stall due to an injury. I was doing some work in the barn, and she would not stop calling out to the other goats. So I figured if I turned the radio on she wouldn’t be so loud. Well when they played a song she would be quiet. When the people would talk she would start calling out again. Then I listened to the songs. The singers were singing in a high nasal pitch and yes it did sound like goats talk. So when they played a song she would be quiet and listen to the goat talk on the radio and when the song stopped she would call out to the radio goat people.

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    OMG that is awesome. I’m thinking of when I posted that goat/Usher mash-up a while back…I wonder if the goaties would also rock out to some Usher? 😉

    [Reply]

  2. Kat
    02.16.2012

    Mine all have their own little voices and I can tell who’s talking without even looking at them. My little whether has this soft kinda wimpy call, the one buck has a deep warble, my huge Alpine just baaahss, on and on and on until you acknowledge him. I’ll have to pay attention to see if they change when they’re out in the yard, versus the pen. Mostly I laugh at how the minute they hear me come home, even if it’s late at night, they call out hello’s to me. Well, it’s probably more a ‘hey, where is our hay!?’ then ‘hello’, but…. LOL

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    They certainly can be vocal when they want to be, that’s for sure Kat!

    [Reply]

  3. Gil
    02.17.2012

    Too bad I didn’t know all of this stuff when I was in college, never would have paid for a beer!

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    HA! So true, Gil 😀

    [Reply]

  4. Joanna
    02.18.2012

    My goat calendar was waiting for me when I got back from the States. Yay!

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Yay yay yay! Hope you love it, Joanna! xx

    [Reply]

  5. Samantha
    02.23.2012

    I can tell between our goats because my little Alpine is VERY vocal and the older LaMancha only makes a kind of throat clearing noise. We’ve had her for quite awhile and haven’t heard her make one single bleat yet…
    And my goats probably don’t have accents… they’re from Washington. We have no accents. :( They probably just bleat about coffee and saving the environment lol.

    [Reply]

    michelle Reply:

    Hahaha. My Pasqualina used to be more vocal, now barely makes a peep. I miss her maaaaas! 😉

    [Reply]

  6. Jazmine
    04.02.2012

    UK accents do sound different to me, but I can’t pin down what area goes with which accent. Then again, I usually can’t quite do that with US accents either!
    I notice it if they are from the North or West, but I can’t tell anything more specific than that.

    [Reply]


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