Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee

So, does this cool customer bleat Nepali? Well, not exactly. That would be a goat language, not a goat accent. Apparently, kids in certain social groups can develop their own accents, scientists at Queen Mary, University of London recently discovered.

According to this article on newscientist.com, Alan McElligott and his colleague, Elodie Briefer, made the discovery by regrouping 23 newborn kids after first recording their 1-week-old bleats. They were then split randomly into four separate "gangs" ranging from five to seven animals.

Their bleats were recorded again at 5 weeks. What emerged was that each kid gang had developed its own distinctive patois [or dialect], the article said. "It probably helps with group cohesion,"McElligott said.

"The discovery is a surprise because the sounds most mammals make were thought to be too primitive to allow subtle variations to emerge or be learned. The only known exceptions are humans, bats and cetaceans [whales, dolphins, etc.], although many birds have legendary song-learing or mimicry abilities," the article says.

Now goats have joined the club. "It's the first ungulate to show evidence of this," McElligott says.

Author

Donna Stokes

Donna Stokes is the managing editor of World Ark magazine. She has worked for Heifer International since September 2008 when she leaped over to the nonprofit world from a two-decade career in newspaper journalism.