Science Night studies babes, birds, human language
The Science Night series at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside continues Wednesday, Oct. 10, with an examination of the parallels between bird song and the language of human babies. The program "Baby Talk, Babbling, and Bird Song: Studying the Ways Birds Learn to Sing Can Help Us Understand Human Language," presented by Dr. Benjamin Taft, begins at 7 p.m. in room 103 of Greenquist Hall on the campus at 900 Wood Rd., Kenosha.
Dr. Taft called baby talk a "crucial stage" in learning to speak, similar to what many birds go through at a similar stage as they master the difficult art of singing.
"We'll talk about the similarities between song learning in birds and the way humans learn to speak," said Dr. Taft. "Listen to gorgeous song, amazing mimicry, and other examples of the diversity of bird voices. Research on bird song has led to insights about human speech, memory, and even dreams!"
Benjamin Taft earned his doctorate in organismic and evolutionary biology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He has studied birds in North and South America and Africa, and has taught biology at UMass, Mt. Holyoke College, and Loyola University of Chicago. He's currently involved in writing software to analyze animal sounds.
"Baby Talk, Babbling, and Bird Song: Studying the Ways Birds Learn to Sing Can Help Us Understand Human Language," with Dr. Benjamin Taft, is free and open to the public. High school and middle school students and faculty with an interest in math and science are encouraged to attend. Admission is free and parking in the Student Center lot is free after 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.For more information, call 262-595-2172.