The parrot in the video below either watches a lot of Peaky Blinders, or he lives in Birmingham, England. Whichever it is, his Brummie accent is great!
Besides enjoying the words that come out of a parrot’s beak, have you ever wondered why they talk in the first place?
According to Audubon (a society that has preserved and restored natural ecosystems for over a century), parrots learn vocally. They hear sounds and then imitate them, and they do this as a way to fit in – a kind of peer pressure, if you will. Irene Pepperberg, research associate at Harvard, quite bluntly states that a single bird in the wild is a dead bird. A bird on its own can’t look for predators and food at the same time, but together in a flock they can share those responsibilities.
There are other birds that are vocal learners and they live in flocks as well, but what makes the parrot so much better at imitating?
Erich Jarvis, a Duke University neuroscientist, says that vocal learning birds have what’s called a “song system” in their brains, but parrots have two layers to theirs. The parrot has an outer shell and an inner core, where other birds only have the inner core. It’s that outer shell that makes parrots so good at mimicking. Jarvis does admit though, that he hasn’t yet figured out how the outer shell actually works.
So, how good are you at understanding accents? I’m not very good, but I think one of the things the parrot in the video says is, “yow oar-right”. But that’s all I can make out.
Watch the video and see if you can understand anything else.