Look Who's Talking

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Posted December 12, 2012 by Annie Leal

Learning a new language is hard (I have a French grade from high school to prove that), but can you imagine learning the language of a different species? These talented animals are better at speaking to us than we are at speaking with them. Check them out:

1.       The Elephant Who Can Speak Korean

By placing his trunk in his mouth, Koshik is able to say the Korean words for “hello,” “sit down,” “no,” “lie down,” and “good.” Let’s see if I can give it a go: Ann-yeong-ha-se-yo (hello). Nope, Koshik sounds better!

2.       Alex the Parrot

In his short 31 years of life, Alex learned 150 words in English as well as how to use them! Dr. Irene Pepperberg, the scientist who studied him, said that “Alex doesn’t just imitate human speech, as other parrots do—Alex can think.”


3.       Mishka the Talking Husky

The “L” word is hard for any couple to say, but Mishka had no problem breaking the language barrier to tell his family how he really feels about them. How cute!

4.       Tiggy the Talking Cat

Tiggy is one cat who isn’t afraid to open up and share her feelings. We love you, too, Tiggy!

5.       Koko the Gorilla

At just 1 year old, Koko was using American Sign Language. Forty years later, she is able to understand more than 1,000 signs based on that language as well as approximately 2,000 words of spoken English. She even invents new phrases to describe things that she has not been taught, for example “finger-bracelet” to mean ring. Oh, and look! Koko loves kittens just as much as peta2 does:

6.       Kanzi the Bonobo

I’ve screwed up more than a couple of meals in my lifetime, but not Kanzi! Not only can he cook a meal over fire, he’s also an impressive conversationalist. Using a keyboard with specially designed graphic symbols called “lexigrams” along with some knowledge of American Sign Language that he learned from watching videos of Koko, Kanzi can communicate with humans. His favorite dish is cherries with orange soda. I might have to give it a try, Kanzi!

Many of these animals spent their lives in captivity as the subject of experiments. peta2 does not approve of or condone this. While we are super-impressed by the abilities of animals as well as by their intelligence, which has driven them to learn our language (even though humans still communicate with animals by using weapons such as whips and bullhooks), we believe that no matter what their intelligence, all animals deserve to be free.

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  • Profile photo of alexblue

    1069 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


    It would be soooo cool if we could learn to talk with them through their languages. Elephants have their own communication and I’d love to study it more!

  • Profile photo of Dagmar

    1076 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


    Awwww Koko with the kittens was the cutest.

  • Profile photo of hakred

    1079 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


    Adorable! :)

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