Make It So: Sir Patrick Stewart Moos In Udder Accents

NPR | Dec. 31, 2013 5:06 a.m.

Contributed By:

Kat Chow

A Jersey cow enjoys the sunshine in Jersey, one of the British Channel Islands.

A Jersey cow enjoys the sunshine in Jersey, one of the British Channel Islands.

AP, Kirsty Wigglesworth

Cow-d it really be? Have our ears herd this correctly? (Sorry, I can’t help myself.)

Patrick Stewart — ahem, Sir Patrick Stewart — mooed up a storm on the podcast, How To Do Everything, impersonating cows from various regions. You might even say Stewart was code-switching.

A listener who says she moos with “kind of an American, Nevadan accent” posed the question: Just how would a person moo in a British accent? (And, by the way, it’s true: cows do moo in regional accents.)

Sir Patrick Stewart steered the listener in the right direction with this response:

“It’s not a simple, straight-forward answer unlike, probably, any other country where cows moo as cows moo. In England, we’re 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.”

He continued to udder:

“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…”

Want to ruminate more on Sir Patrick Stewart’s code-switchy moos? Give the episode a listen, and if it behooves you, subscribe to to the podcast.

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