Who Needs a Talking Whale? Meet Koshik, the Talking Elephant

Videos Highlighting The Latest Search Trends.
Nov. 2 2012 9:44 AM

Who Needs a Talking Whale? Meet Koshik, the Talking Elephant

A late beluga whale named NOC recently charmed the nation when researchers in California revealed that he could mimic human speech. Now comes word of an Asian elephant named Koshik who can “talk” to his trainer.

Koshik can parrot exactly five words: the Korean expressions for "hello," "sit down," "no" "lie down," and "good." Listen above to hear him attempt "annyong," or "hello."

Advertisement

The gifted elephant pulls off his rare feat by placing his trunk in his mouth, a method that made it difficult for researchers to tell exactly how he does it. They were most impressed that he can match both human pitch and timbre, given that he has no lips and giant vocal chords.

Koshik is not the first elephant to mimic humans, but the study says he spent his social formative years with humans and no other elephants—possibly explaining why he developed his peculiar habit.

Jeffrey Bloomer is a Slate assistant editor focused on video. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won’t Stop Running
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 17 2014 1:46 PM A Salute to Defiant Scots on the Eve of Their Possible Secession
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 1:26 PM Hey CBS, Rihanna Is Exactly Who I Want to See on My TV Before NFL Football Games
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 1:01 PM A Rare, Very Unusual Interview With Michael Jackson, Animated
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.