Songbirds May Be Able to Learn Grammar

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Songbirds May Be Able to Learn Grammar

... Quote:
WASHINGTON - The simplest grammar, long thought to be one of the skills that separate man from beast, can be taught to a common songbird, new research suggests.

Starlings learned to differentiate between a regular birdsong "sentence" and one containing a clause or another sentence of warbling, according to a study in Thursday's journal Nature. 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 the most basic of grammar in their own bird language.

Yet what they learned may shake up the field of linguistics.

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Songbirds were able to pick out warbling or rattling bird phrases included in birdsongs. The birds pecked the right button and recieved treats. That's pretty amazing.

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By YCON: posted on 27-4-2006








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