Zoo elephant learns to speak Korean

Elephant illustration 
By: Devansh Dutt 

(Scroll down for video) An elephant has reportedly learned how to speak Korean.

The elephant at a zoo in South Korea, is using its trunk to pick up not only food, but also human vocabulary.

An international team of scientists confirmed on Friday, what the Everland Zoo has been saying for years: its 5.5-ton tusker Koshik has an unusual talent and possibly unprecedented.

The Asian elephant, 22 years old, can say five Korean words, putting his trunk into his mouth to modulate the sound, the scientists said in a joint article published online in a scientific journal.

They said it may have begun to imitate human speech because it was lonely.

Koshik can say "annyeong" (hello), "Anja" (sit), "aniya" (no) "nuwo" (lie) and "joa" (good), the document said.

One of the researchers said there was no evidence that Koshik understands the words it speaks, even though the elephant does respond to words like "Anja" and "nuwo".

Everland Zoo officials of the city of Yongin, said that Koshik can also say "ajik" (not yet), but researchers have not confirmed that word.

Koshik is particularly good with the vowels, with a similar percentage rating of 67 percent, the researchers said. His score for consonants are only 21 percent.

The researchers said that the clearest scientific evidence that Koshik is deliberately imitating human language is that the frequency of the sound of its words coincides with his trainers.