Your Ad Here Your Ad Here
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Birds know grammar!

  1. #1
    MagicNakor's Avatar On the Peripheral
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    5,401
    Washington — Grade-school grammar students should put away their excuses. Scientists say even a bird brain can grasp one of grammar’s early concepts.

    Researchers trained starlings to differentiate between a regular birdsong “sentence” and one that was embedded with a warbled clause, according to research in today’s issue of the journal Nature.

    This “recursive grammar” is what linguists have long believed separated man from beast.

    It took University of California at San Diego psychology researcher Tim Gentner a month and about 15,000 training attempts, with food as a reward, to get the birds to recognize this grammatical structure in their own bird language. What they learned may shake up the field of linguistics.

    While many animals can roar, sing, grunt or otherwise make noise, linguists have contended for years that the key to distinguishing language skills goes back to our elementary school teachers and basic grammar. Recursive grammar — inserting an explanatory clause like this one into a sentence — is something that humans can recognize, but not animals, researchers figured.

    Two years ago, a top research team tried to get tamarin monkeys to recognize such phrasing, but they failed. It was seen as upholding famed linguist Noam Chomsky’s theory that recursive grammar is uniquely human and key to the facility to acquire language.

    But after training, nine out of Gentner’s 11 songbirds picked out the birdsong with inserted warbling or rattling bird phrases about 90 percent of the time. Two continued to flunk grammar.
    This photo provided by the University of California at San Diego shows an undated photo of a starling, the sturnus vulgaris. According to a study published in the April 27, 2006, journal "Nature" , the songbirds can learn a basic grammar form, and differentiate between a regular bird "sentence" and one interrupted by a clause or a phrase.

    AP Photo/University of California at San Diego, Daniel Baleckaitis

    This photo provided by the University of California at San Diego shows an undated photo of a starling, the sturnus vulgaris. According to a study published in the April 27, 2006, journal "Nature" , the songbirds can learn a basic grammar form, and differentiate between a regular bird "sentence" and one interrupted by a clause or a phrase.

    “We were dumbfounded that they could do as well as they did,” Gentner said. “It’s clear that they can do it.”

    Gentner trained the birds using three buttons hanging from the wall. When the bird pecked the button it would play different versions of birdsongs that Gentner generated, some with inserted clauses and some without. If the song followed a certain pattern, birds were supposed to hit the button again with their beaks; if it followed a different pattern they were supposed to do nothing. If the birds recognized the correct pattern, they were rewarded with food.

    Gentner said he was so unprepared for the starlings’ successful learning that he hadn’t bothered to record the songs the starlings sang in response.

    “They might have been singing them back,” Gentner said.

    What the experiment shows is that language and animal cognition is a lot more complicated than scientists once thought and that there is no “single magic bullet” that separates man from beast, said Jeffrey Elman, a professor of cognitive science at UCSD, who was not part of the Gentner research team.

    Marc Hauser, director of Harvard University’s Cognitive Evolution Laboratory, who conducted the tamarin monkey experiment said Gentner’s study was important and exciting, showing that “some of the cognitive sources that we deploy may be shared with other animals.”

    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/ap...ses_linguists/
    things are quiet until hitler decides he'd like to invade russia
    so, he does
    the russians are like "OMG WTF D00DZ, STOP TKING"
    and the germans are still like "omg ph34r n00bz"
    the russians fall back, all the way to moscow
    and then they all begin h4xing, which brings on the russian winter
    the germans are like "wtf, h4x"
    -- WW2 for the l33t

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    Cheese's Avatar Poster
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    is everything.
    Age
    40
    Posts
    19,023
    My bird knows grammar. I get her to proofread all my essays.

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheese
    My bird knows grammar. I get her to proofread all my essays.
    That's burd. Tchh.


    “It’s not the will to win that counts - it is the will to prepare”

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    thewizeard's Avatar re-member BT Rep: +1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    7,607
    ..I like well spoken ..birds

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    maebach's Avatar Team FST Captain
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    burlington, Ontario
    Posts
    5,341
    I always knew birds were smarter than Americans. I read that 1 of 3 americans between the age of 18-24 dont know where Louisiana or MIssissippi is. 6/10 dont know where Iraq is

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •