Sir Patrick Stewart on the various accents of British cows

This seems a natural followup to our discussion the other day about how American and British accents — human accents — diverged.Patrick_Stewart_by_Gage_Skidmore

I didn’t listen to it until today, although it was brought to my attention yesterday by Professor Elemental. Let this be a lesson to you that when the Professor recommends something, one should drop everything and attend to it immediately, because otherwise one is missing out unnecessarily.

It’s a podcast in which Sir Patrick Stewart answers an American listener’s question regarding whether British cows moo differently — or rather, whether British people moo differently when imitating cows. (Although his answer speaks more to the first question.)

Sir Patrick answered the question thoroughly and respectfully. His answer, in part:

“It’s not a straight-forward, simple answer unlike, probably, many other country where a cow’s moo is a cow’s moo. In England, you understand, we are dominated by class, by social status, and by location. So, for example, a cow that is in the field next to my house in West Oxfordshire would moo in one kind of way, and a cow in a field in the semi-industrial town I grew up in in the North of England would moo in another kind of way….

Well, if I were at home in West Oxfordshire right now and I walked down my lane and there were all these cows and I say, ‘Hi, good morning, cows. And they would moo at me like this: ‘Mooooooouhh.’ Now that’s a very conservative moo…”

You should listen to the whole thing (the “listen” button is at the bottom of the post). Or at least, as the site recommends, don’t stop before he gets to the Cockney moo…

11 thoughts on “Sir Patrick Stewart on the various accents of British cows

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Speaking of Patrick Stewart…

    On my very last trip to the deeply lamented Barnes & Noble on Harbison, I didn’t just drink coffee, but spent a gift card on two items — a copy of Guns, Germs and Steel, and a DVD of “Excalibur” that was marked down to $4.99.

    I hadn’t seen the Arthur movie in years and years, and was interested to see two people who later became famous — Liam Neeson, as Gawain, and Patrick Stewart, as Leondegrance, the father of Guinevere…

    A goofy film in many ways (weirdest touch — when all the Round Table knights’ armor suddenly becomes mirror-shiny), but at least as good as any other film version of Arthurian legend. Frankly, I don’t think the story has ever gotten the treatment it deserves…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Well, yes, that’s certainly the most ENJOYABLE version.

          But being the retro, medieval guy that I am, I’d like to see a treatment of the legend that takes it seriously and is respectful to it, rather than mocking it.

          That’s why I’d choose the T.H. White version to film. It’s written from a modern perspective, but with affection and respect for the characters and story.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            As I said at the time:

            I realize that to these folks, it’s a really, really important principle not to have leaders. But here’s my prediction: They’ll either get some leaders, or never really accomplish anything much beyond making headlines and getting arrested.

            And where is Occupy now?


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