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Published On: Mon, Nov 5th, 2012

Paper describes the Korean speaking Asian elephant named ‘Koshik’

A study by researchers from the University of Vienna documents a 22-year-old male Asian elephant that imitates human speech, according to a Sci-News. com report Friday.

Video Screen Shot/ Daniel Mietchen via Wikimedia Commons

Researchers have confirmed that the elephant named Koshik, who lives at South Korea’s Everland Zoo is able say exactly five Korean words: “annyong” (“hello”), “anja” (“sit down”), “aniya” (“no”), “nuo” (“lie down”), and “choah” (“good”).

The study, “An Asian Elephant Imitates Human Speech” was published Nov. 1 in the online journal, Current Biology

Researchers say Koshik can reproduce the five Korean words by tucking his trunk inside his mouth to modulate sound.
Human speech imitation in animals requires a complex match between vocal perception and production to perceive, decode, and reproduce the speech signal, according to the scientists.
 
In the Sci-News.com report, lead author of the paper, Dr Angela Stoeger of the University of Vienna says:

“Human speech basically has two important aspects, pitch and timbre” 

Intriguingly, the elephant Koshik is capable of matching both pitch and timbre patterns: he accurately imitates human formants as well as the voice pitch of his trainers. This is remarkable considering the huge size, the long vocal tract, and other anatomical differences between an elephant and a human.”

Everland Zoo officials in the city of Yongin said Koshik also can imitate “ajik” (not yet), but the researchers haven’t confirmed the accomplishment.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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