Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Human Sentences are "for the Birds"

Thunk would who have.

Excerpts from The Week magazine, July 15 issue (page 17, newsstand version) :

Humans aren’t the only animals capable of speaking in sentences ...

... Birds also use specific grammar rules to structure their tweets. Scientists played jumbled birdsong to Bengal finches and found that almost all of the birds refused to respond to certain remixes.
“It’s as if you were presented with a sentence like ‘we will go to the zoo tomorrow,’” Gisela Kaplan, a professor of animal behavior at Australia’s University of New England, tells ABC Science. Some reordered versions of the sentence, such as “tomorrow we will go to the zoo,” still make sense, but “zoo go we will tomorrow the to” doesn’t. Finch songs, it seems, are no different, and like humans, the birds learn syntax by listening.

Isn't interesting it very?


Anonymous said...

That IS interesting! I wonder if dolphins speak to each other in highly complex sentences!

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Anonymous said...

Believe I saw this same article in Science News or heard it on NPR- always confuse what I've heard with what I've read. Dolphins understand complex human sentences (on "Nova" recently)enough to communicate with another dolphin and complete task(s) asked of them. In other words, one dolphin given a task two or more must perform, is able to relay the human communication to his poolmates in order to involve all needed to complete said task! Amazing to see! Kirsti

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