Birds do it. Whales do it. Even elephants are getting in on the act.

No, we’re not talking about using language, but some of our animal friends are having a pretty good try at making human-like sounds. What’s going on?

Linguist Daniel Midgley talks to the animals on this episode of Talk the Talk.

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Show notes

NOC the beluga whale made what could be charitably described as humanesque noises.

They’re good mimics. One learned to imitate a whistle they used to train him.

Koshik the Elephant can imitate Korean

He puts his trunk in his mouth and modulates the sound that way.


Further reading on cetacean vocalisations, but approach claims with caution