Chomsky-selective breeding

jess tauber phonosemantics at
Fri Oct 29 01:19:24 UTC 2010

There was just a NOVA show, from 2009, on crow intelligence, on the local PBS station. In it they talk about sociality, shared responsibilities, communication, tool making and use- the works.

Supposedly crows (all, some?) have more than 200 vocal signals. What is the inner architecture of such a large set? Combinations of signs from a smaller set? Each unique? A mix? What are the communicative outlines? Just kin hierarchy, challenge, food, warnings, mating, the usual set? Or something more?

Sounds like a much cheaper set of test/experimental subjects than parrots, and less likely to drive populations to extinction. Anyone know if they have imitative capacities? In experiments they clearly can learn- how about acoustically, for verbalized concepts? Go nuts, become a Raven Lunatic...

Jess Tauber
phonosemantics at

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