Do bird songs have grammar?

Linguists have supposed that syntactic structure was only found in human language, but now a team of researchers is finding that finches use it in their songs. Does that mean they speak a kind of language? How is their communication different from ours?

UWA linguist Daniel Midgley sorts it out on this week’s Talk the Talk.


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Show notes

The New Scientist article
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20615-first-evidence-that-birds-tweet-using-grammar.html

ABC Science also has some info
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2011/06/27/3254669.htm

I mentioned putty-nosed monkeys:
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/pyowpyow-how-the-puttynosed-monkey-tells-its-friends-theres-a-leopard-coming-793980.html

And whales:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060322175201.htm