bird song/conversation analysis

A. Katz amnfn at
Fri Jun 18 19:22:51 UTC 2010


I don't think it has been proven yet that all bird song is primarily 
decorative in its complexity. I don't even know how we would go about 
trying to prove such a thing.


On Fri, 18 Jun 2010, jess tauber wrote:

> 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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