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Elephant learns how to speak Korean

Posted on Friday, 2 November, 2012 | Comment icon 14 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: sxc.hu

An elephant in Korea has learned how to imitate human speech with words such as 'hello' and 'good'.

The feat is all the more remarkable because elephants, like many mammals, don't have sufficient vocal control to mimic human speech. In this case the elephant known as Koshik has managed to get around this problem by placing his trunk in his mouth and massaging his vocal tract so that he can recite the words. It's the first time an elephant has ever been known to do this.

Researchers conducted a study to determine the extent of Koshik's abilities. Volunteers who spoke Korean natively were played 47 recordings of the elephant speaking and asked to write down what they believe he had said. The results indicated that Koshik was indeed able to pronounce words and phrases such as 'annoying', 'sit down' and 'no' with remarkable ease.

"Cases of mammals being able to make human-like sounds are extremely rare, because even close animal relatives like chimpanzees do not have enough vocal control to match our pitch and tone."

  View: Full article |  Source: Telegraph

  Discuss: View comments (14)



Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin on 2 November, 2012, 18:47
I truly wish my dog could talk to me in English. Or "laugh" when I tickle it's belly.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Bling on 2 November, 2012, 20:26
Brilliant! May elephants take over the earth!
Comment icon #7 Posted by highdesert50 on 3 November, 2012, 12:58
Amusing how a "dumb" animal can communicate in a complex human language and how few "intelligent" humans can communicate in "elephant" or any other non-human communication medium.
Comment icon #8 Posted by little_dreamer on 3 November, 2012, 13:34
OK, time to teach him "Gangnam Style"! He's got to learn the dance step as well!
Comment icon #9 Posted by EllJay on 3 November, 2012, 14:15
Nice. Didn't we have a "talking" whale just a while ago? EDIT: Found the link. He is pretty chatty as well. He even blows heart-shaped bubbles Listen to this He might sound a bit like this right now, but with a good speech therapist we might get a conversation going soon.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Missi NuNu on 3 November, 2012, 22:58
Comment icon #11 Posted by Taylor Reints on 4 November, 2012, 3:33
I'm going to ask him if he can sing Gangnam Style.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Crosswings on 3 December, 2012, 19:37
@Taylor-Reints That will probably never happen. If it does then gosh, I wouldn't know what to say!
Comment icon #13 Posted by Crosswings on 3 December, 2012, 19:39
@Taylor-Reints That will probably never happen. If it does then gosh, I wouldn't know what to say!
Comment icon #14 Posted by leupgaru on 13 December, 2012, 9:19
anyangasayo, anyangasayoka, kamsamida. did i spell it right or the elephant spells it better ?! "

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