bird song/conversation analysis

jess tauber phonosemantics at
Fri Jun 18 19:09:19 UTC 2010

Yeah, but where do the bits and pieces of the song come from? Just a kluge, or perhaps with internal structure just too alien for us hyoo-mans? And if internally structured, with each piece with a meaning range, can they modulate the parts to differentiate senses, emphases?

The more intelligent birds seem to be less operatic in their preferences, with simpler call strings, but also sometimes good imitative abilities. Why? Don't they have the same needs and wants as the more melodious cousins? Or is it about automaticization and fixed, discreet contexts versus more pragmatic usages and fluid contexts, with a generalized code applicable to all?

Great discussion.

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics at

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