If you’ve ever felt you’d like to learn another language, take heart from Koshik, the elephant that can speak Korean. The 22 year old imitates human speech by sticking his trunk in his mouth, and can say words and phrases like ‘no’, ‘hello’ and ‘sit down.
Here the zookeeper says “good” to the elephant:
Now the elephant repeats the word.
Sukhun Oh, a researcher at Everland Zoo in Yongin, said:
“This research shows Koshik obviously learned and imitated human speech to establish a relationship with his keepers.”
“The research group have much interest in whether Koshik will express more correctly the words he imitates now and whether he will learn more words. And they will research more accordingly.”
It is unclear why Koshik started imitating human speech, but it’s beleievd it might be due to the fact he is the only elephant at the zoo, and so his only social contact has been with humans.
Written and presented by Alfred Joyner