Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Do you have a beef with accents?

This blog hasn't devoted enough time to writing about cows.

I'm not sure I can believe that cows are emulating the accents of their owners; that would mean that cows are trying to communicate in a human manner, and I just don't think there's any way to confirm that intention. What I do think it happening is a simple picture of path dependency in nature-- presumably, calves learn vocal habits from the elder cows in the pasture, and as they age, they pass along the same "speech" pattern. Without mixing cow groups, any alteration in speech, genetic or otherwise, can lead to two different groups of cows talking in two different manners over time. (Are there any...zoologists that can comment?)

Could the same thing be said for people raised in socialist regimes as opposed to capitalist regimes? Could the incentive to make yourself better off be weaned out of a human after the passing of a few generations? And if that's the case, how much effort would be needed to re-incorporate a capitalist mentality in, say, any of the former Soviet republics?

No comments: