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Nature & Environment

Elephant learns how to speak Korean

By T.K. Randall
November 2, 2012 · Comment icon 13 comments

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.



Source: Telegraph | Comments (13)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by Pop Vulture 12 years ago
The animals are learning and they are going to take over. Hopefuly not take over, imagine animals learning to talk like humans. Animal concious shift or evolution out of necesity? Would be cool
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin 12 years ago
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 12 years ago
Brilliant! May elephants take over the earth!
Comment icon #7 Posted by highdesert50 12 years ago
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 12 years ago
OK, time to teach him "Gangnam Style"! He's got to learn the dance step as well!
Comment icon #9 Posted by EllJay 12 years ago
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. 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 http://www.dailymail...act-humans.html 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. [media=]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Missi NuNu 12 years ago
When and if he ever says, "안녕하세요!!" I will fall out of this chair... Agreed.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Crosswings 12 years ago
@Taylor-Reints That will probably never happen. If it does then gosh, I wouldn't know what to say!
Comment icon #12 Posted by Crosswings 12 years ago
@Taylor-Reints That will probably never happen. If it does then gosh, I wouldn't know what to say!
Comment icon #13 Posted by leupgaru 11 years ago
anyangasayo, anyangasayoka, kamsamida. did i spell it right or the elephant spells it better ?! "


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