»I have acquired English«. The white cockatoo stands out against the black background. »You might think what use are words to a bird?« »I’m lost«. At no time does the bird articulate these words itself. Sentences are laid in its mouth by subtitles. Does it not want to speak or can’t it? Who is the originator of these noises, this speech? Is the cockatoo lost or are we? To what extent does spoken communication function between man and beast? A setting, made by people. The beast confronted by constructed sounds. Composed sounds fluctuating in their playback speed. Many questions are raised. What is communication? Can it be at all successful? No clear answers are forthcoming, but one ought not to expect them. Perhaps we can assume that the cockatoo seems to learn a part of our language by imitation. Is it able to establish the semantic connections? Do we not also appear to learn our language by incessant repetition? The association of meaning has less to do with logic than with learning. Are we able to represent every relationship with linguistic differentiation – or do we not rely on practiced and established thought patterns? (Marcel Schleyer)
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