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Thread: Speaking of parrots

  1. #1 Speaking of parrots 
    Forum Freshman shiva108's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    This Universe
    How come animals cannot speak like us, yet parrots can?
    Birds different group from animal's yet has the ability to speak and learn speech. Can the parrot be taught a language fully?
    Any guys own this remarkable bird.

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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Aug 2006
    No, it just copies what you say, that's not the smartest of things to do in my opinion.
    However, I think I heard that a macaw can be as smart as a 3 year old which is something I guess.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Sophomore scientist-to-be's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Cairo, Egypt
    I think that animals can't speak because they do not have a speech center in their brain. Parrots only imitate what they hear around them, so I'm guessing they have a bit more sound memory than other animals, but they do not understand what they say. Humans, I believe, are the only species of animals with a brain complex enough to process language.
    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, however, there is.
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  5. #4  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    There is some recent research indicating that some parrots do have some minor facility with language beyond simply parroting what they hear. It is suggested that their skill level approaches that of apes.
    For example:

    Abstract: A Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) that was able to quantify 6 item sets (including subsets of heterogeneous groups, e.g., blue blocks within groupings of blue and green blocks and balls) using English labels (I. M. Pepperberg, 1994a) was tested on comprehension of these labels, which is crucial for numerical competence (K. C. Fuson, 1988). He was, without training, asked “What color/object [number]?” for collections of various simultaneously presented quantities (e.g., subsets of 4, 5, and 6
    blocks of 3 different colors; subsets of 2, 4, and 6 keys, corks, and sticks). Accuracy was greater than 80% and was unaffected by array quantity, mass, or contour. His results demonstrated numerical comprehension competence comparable to that of chimpanzees and very young children. He also demonstrated knowledge of absence of quantity, using “none” to designate zero.
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