Amazing Animals 1 - Parrot Talk More than Just Squawking [LiveScience 2007-01-28]
10 Amazing Things You Didn't Know about Animals
Myths and mysteries make the animal world fascinating, but even odd creatures ought to be understood. We explore a few recent findings, common misconceptions and amazing adaptations.???Ben Mauk
[Photo] Photo Credit: Arizona State Univerity
Number 1: Parrot Talk More than Just Squawking
Parrot speech is commonly regarded as the brainless squawking of a feathered voice recorder. But studies over the past 30 years continually show that parrots engage in much more than mere mimicry. Our avian friends can solve certain linguistic processing tasks as deftly as 4-6 year-old children. Parrots appear to grasp concepts like "same" and "different", "bigger" and "smaller", "none" and numbers. Perhaps most interestingly, they can combine labels and phrases in novel ways. A January 2007 study in Language Sciences suggests using patterns of parrot speech learning to develop artificial speech skills in robots.