A while back I made the discovery that cattle aren’t as dumb as most people think. After many years of careful field observation, I determined that they speak a simple language, and actually have a vocabulary of over 100 words (they just get a real kick out of saying “moo”). Below is a rough gloss of Kine, the language of cattle. Note that this is one specific dialect (Wisconsin-Holstein) and that there may be substantial variations by region or breed.

Pronunciation key:

e as in bell
h as in hay
m as in mud
n as in nudge
o as in hole
oo as in soon
ooo (like oo above, but held longer)
r as in ruminate
u as in udder
uu (like u above, but held longer)
uuu (like uu above, but held even longer)
x like sh in shinola
glottal stop

Special notes:

The pronunciation key above is the closest approximation to bovine phonemes that can be made with the human mouth. All vowels and nasals are substantially more nasalized that in human languages, aspirants and fricatives are made with a substantially greater air flow through the mouth and nasal passages, and the sound represented by the glottal stop is actually made by touching five pounds of tongue to a maxillary ridge.

Language Structure:

The Wisconsin-Holstein dialect appeared to have almost no grammar whatsoever. The article indicating negation (x’) is prepended to the word to be negated, and only negates that word. The verb rheh (to eat) is never used in context with meruuu (grass) – instead the words muum, xemmo, and hruunuuu are used. The words huuuhm, mo’, and xoomm are often not meant litterally, but are used in a derogatory manner.

Word order in Kine is extremely flexible, with the part of speech of a word indicated by prefixes. Verbs have the prefix uuuh’. The lack of a verb in a sentence indicates a statement of existence or description of the subject.

The first noun in an utterance is taken as the subject of the sentence.

There are two pronouns, meh (self) and muuun (non-self)

The prefix eh’ on a noun inticates that it is the possessor of the preceeding noun.

The prefix h’ is used to indicate a plural. There are no numbers in Kine as cattle are apparently unable to count past one.

Nouns may be compounded to form more complex nouns, with the most prominent noun coming first.

There is no way to express verb tense, aspect, or mode in Kine. Apparently cattle do not perceive anything as ever changing.

Example Sentences

x’uuuh’rooh muuun meh You will not kiss me
huuuhm eh’meh My udder hurts
nuuux uuuh’hruun-nuum Sweet grass makes good milk
uuuh’hnuum uuuh’noono meh I laugh so hard I make butter
muumm-hren memooo-xox-mux Truly democratic elections are like passing a boulder
muuun uuuh’muum-muuuxooo-moonu Try that grass over here, it’s nice and soft
meh uuuh’mo’ eh’muuun I seem to be pooping on your lunch


Kine to English Dictionary:

he’ dirt
hmeh hoof
hmen hole
hmenu who
hmoohru flower
hmuhru rain
hnen running
hnon grass (frozen)
hnu’ up
hnuuh clover
hnuum laugh
hnuuxuu river
ho’ grain
hoohuu being
hremuu kick
hren democracy
hrom before
hrooom steer
hrooomuu thing
hrooox cream
hru’ small
hrum herd
hruuhrooo salt
hruum surprise
hruun milk
hruunuuu grass (digested)
hruuxooo grass (sour)
hun jump
huuh flatulating
huuuhm udder (painful)
huuuhn communism
huuur milking
huux yogurt
hux lick
meh self
memooo deficating
meru grass (dry)
meruuu grass
mmoohno drink
mmoomu bull
mmoono sleeping
mmoonooo buttercup
mmooor government
mmoox tasting
mmuumuuu grass (coarse)
mmuuummooo digestion
mo’ grass (soiled)
moh mouth
mom religion
moo nothing, emptiness, nonsense
moo’ after
mooh going
moohm monarch
moohmooo down
moohmuu excrement
moohruu pain
moommo procedure
moonoo elsewhere
moonu grass (soft)
moooh shame
mooohn talking
mooommuu urine
mooon barn
mu’ udder
muu’u rubbing
muuhno danger
muum grass (being eaten)
muumm vote
muummooo field
muumo grass (bitter)
muumu republic
muuuhmoo methane
muuun not-self
muuux zealot
muuuxooo here
mux big
neh walking
nehuu apocalypse
nomuuu grass (wet)
non disease
noohm all
noohmooo regurgitate
noomm mating
noon noise
noono butter
nooohmuuu direction
nooox more
nooxu water
nuu’ooo cheese
nuuh revolution
nuum please
nuumooo what
nuuux grass (sweet)
rheh to eat
rooh kiss
roomuu snow
rooohmuuu day
roox humor
ruum chocolate
ruuunuuu food
x’ no (negation)
xehr urinating
xemmo grass (being eaten again)
xeno insect
xohr anarchy
xon push
xoomm parliament
xoonoo committee
xoooh ice
xox stone
xuuhr cow
xuux electing

The Babel Text

Genesis 11:1-9

  1. h’hrum-noohm uuuh’mooohn
  2. h’mmoomu uuuh’neh nooohmuuu eh’moonoo – h’mmoomu Shinar
  3. h’mmoomu uuuh’moommo mooohn – h’meh uuuh’moommo xox-he’ – h’mmoomu uuuh’moommo xox-he’
  4. h’mmoomu uuuh’moommo mooohn – uuuh’mooon xox-he’ hnu’ hnu’ – uuuh’moommo x’h'xuuhr-moonoo-noohm
  5. moohm eh’mom uuuh’moohmooo mooon-xox
  6. moohm eh’mom uuuh’moommo mooohn – h’hrum-noohm uuuh’mooohn – uuuh’mooon xox-he’ hnu’ hnu’ – muuhno-mux
  7. h’meh uuuh’moohmooo uuuh’nehuu mooohn – h’hrum-noohm x’uuuh’mooohn
  8. moohm eh’mom uuuh’moommo h’xuuhr-moonoo-noohm – h’mmoomu x’uuuh’mooon xox-he’
  9. hrooomuu Babel – moohm eh’mom uuuh’nehuu mooohn – h’hrum-noohm x’uuuh’mooohn – moohm eh’mom uuuh’moommo h’xuuhr-moonoo-noohm