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中英對照讀新聞》Penguins’ speech patterns are similar to humans, a new study finds 新研究:企鵝語言模式似人類

2020-02-26
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◎陳成良

In most human languages, the most frequently used words are short. It turns out the same thing goes for penguins too.

在大多數人類語言中,最常用的字都很短,原來企鵝也是如此。

A team of researchers based in Italy have found "compelling evidence" that African penguins use the same speech patterns as we do - the first time this has been found in an animal other than a primate.

義大利一個研究團隊發現「令人信服的證據」,證明非洲企鵝與我們使用相同的語言模式 ,這是首度在靈長類以外的動物身上有此發現。

The team recorded 590 breeding calls known as "ecstatic display songs." They were sung by single birds during the mating season, from 28 adult African penguins in three different colonies in Italian zoos.

研究團隊共錄得590段被稱為「狂喜展示聲」的繁殖叫聲,這是義大利動物園3個不同群聚的28隻成年單身非洲企鵝在求偶季節的鳴叫。

The songs’ sounds are similar to the bray of a donkey, according to the paper which published Tuesday, and are responsible for the flightless birds’ less-than-flattering nickname:the jackass penguin.

根據週二刊登的研究報告,這些鳴叫聽來很像驢子叫,這種不會飛的鳥類因此得到「公驢企鵝」( jackass penguin)這個令人不敢恭維的暱稱。

The study found that the vocal sequences contained three distinct syllables of different length, with the "words" used most often the shortest, while the longest sequences were made up of shorter syllables.

研究發現,(非洲企鵝)聲音序列包括長度各異的3種不同音節,最常用的「字」最短,最長的序列則以較短的音節構成。

The researchers said this showed the flightless birds shared two traits of human speech - that the most frequently used words are shorter, but also the longer the sentence(or for penguins:the call), the shorter the sounds within it.

研究人員表示,這顯示這種不會飛的鳥擁有兩種與人類一樣的語言特性,也就是最常用的字比較短,以及句子(對企鵝而言是鳴叫聲)越長,其中的音節越短。

新聞辭典

compelling:形容詞,令人信服的。例句:The lawyer made a compelling argument.(律師提出令人信服的論點。)

primate:名詞,靈長類,靈長目。例句:Primates are smart animals.(靈長類是聰明的動物。)

trait︰特徵,特性。例句:Jim’s two most pleasing traits are generosity and energy.(吉姆最討人喜歡的特點是豪爽和充滿活力。)

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研究顯示,非洲企鵝與人類使用相同的語言模式。
(路透資料照)

研究顯示,非洲企鵝與人類使用相同的語言模式。 (路透資料照)

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