"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Naming of the Crew

Alas I have been deep in thought, of late, pondering questions about goat groups. My friend, Persephone, asked what one calls a tribe of goats. Are they named for the oldest buck, the name of the farm, the type of goats? What if the group is made up of many different types or breeds of goat?

Well, Persephone, these are my thoughts on this matter. First of all I endeavored to do a bit of study on the foremost users of the word 'tribe', the native First Nations peoples. Most often I found that the various 'tribes' or peoples had names for themselves and these names were, of course, in their own language. For example, the Jamestown S'Kllalam tribe, that is very close to our farm, originally called themselves a name that, by the way I wouldn't even attempt to spell, in their language that meant 'The Strong People'. Along the way, English speaking people, who couldn't pronounce the language anymore than they could spell it, came up with a spelling of what the word sounded like to them. Historically, there are many tribal names reflecting geographical locations, English translations of languages that were not understood but sounded out, and names that have some historical significance such as a person who was important to the community.

Keeping this in mind, I wouldn't even attempt to come up with a name in goat language. There, of course, are different forms of the 'baaa', but what if it came out like what Boo does? In English you'd have something like 'Society of the Sick Elk'. Not very flattering, to say the least. No, in my estimation, any one tribe of goats ought to be called by the name of their most affluent or famous member. (That would be one with notoriety, lots of Peanuts, or both.) For example, over at the prestigious Minter Bay Dairy Goats, you have The Buttons Trio. That makes sense to me. Or over at Herron Hill, you have 'The Home of Baby Belle'. Of course Minter Bay may need to expand that to the Buttons Band...but come to think of it, it is Cora Belle who has the most notoriety. In that case perhaps that 'tribe' needs to be known as the CoraBellite Tribe. I'm not sure...that kind of sounds like a rock. Anyway, over at Herron Hill they should probably be known as the Belle Bunch or the Belleites (Oh, don't tell the Sopranos!), but I am sure Millie would object and insist on something like the MillionBelle Dynasty or some such nonsense.

Anyway, here at our farm, of course our multi-breed little tribe should be known as the Marigoldian Society. So Persephone, who on your farm has the most fame - the most Peanuts? That should be the deciding factor in my estimation.

Now, about that 'litter' business we spoke of before. It would seem that, at least to humans, 'litter' is the proper term. I've gotten suggestions of everything from 'kin' to 'family units', but do those really describe what we are trying to convey? I think decidedly not!

So, I have decided to let you, the readers, vote to decide the sobriquet for a certain group of goat kids from the same parents, but different breedings or years. The candidates are first, Glitter. This, of course, reflects the combination of Goat + Litter. Second, we have the term Grouple, a little group of goatlings. And lastly, we have the term, Gack, reflecting Goat + Pack.

So, my friends, the fate of the name is in your hands. If you look at the top left of the page, you will see the poll. Vote as many times as you like. In the grand tradition of the GOTY poll over at Herron Hill, the rules are that there are no rules. The poll will close in 2 weeks, so cast your votes! Make your voice heard...or herd?!


Terry Golson said...

Pip and Caper here. We are "broats" - brother goats. Born at the same time, well, not really, Pip came out first. Anyway, we just wanted to tell you that our goatmaid reads your blog and so bought a bag of peanuts for us. We tried them once. They require sniffing and munching. We thought about them overnight and the next day the goatmaid offered us two more - but this time we KNEW that peanuts are poison. We stomped them into the ground. We're surprised you're still alive. You should be more careful about what you eat. Just saying.

Claire said...

OOOOOh! A new poll! My fingers got all trembly when I had to vote. But I voted anyway. Once. I'll only vote once unless I see that my name choice is losing, in which case I may need to provide additional support. Excellent. We shall use the new term here on the farm. Unless it's the one I don't like.

goatgirl said...

Webster's dictionary defines litter as: the offspring at one birth of a multiparous animal...then I had to look up multiparous.
And ya know you can trust a Webster.

Marigold said...

Dear Broats, Peanut appreciation is a learned skill much like wine tasting. What can I say? I am a PEaNutophile.

Marigold said...

Dear Claire, Yes. I too love polls. By the way, for some reason, the only way we could figure out to vote twice for the same name was to do so using a different browser. We have Firefox and Internet Explorer so....

Marigold said...

Dear Goatgirl, Of course you can trust a Webster. Naturally that is for humans though. I strive to provide a goat's point of view, not to mention contribute new and exciting words to the language. Just think of me as a sort of first compiler of the goatly lexicon.

goatgirl said...

That's why I voted for glitter. If we use it enough it will make it in the next printing of Webster's.