Whale Tales

We often remind our friends that their pets don’t speak English. Yes, everything communicates, but each group of plants and animals have specific alphabets. Recently, teams from the Cetacean Translation Initiative found that the expressivity of sperm whales is much larger than previously thought.

Whales are very social, and their phonetic alphabet is similar to other animals, even humans. Their codas, or bursts of clicking noises, vary in rhythm, duration, and tempo. They even end communications with an extra click— their tagline?

Speakers will reflect their diverse cultures. Listen to colleagues or friends with Cantonese or Mandarin as their first language, which is highly tonal. Or the expressiveness, especially with vowels, of Romance languages. Pratyusha Sharma, a researcher said that every communication system is tailored to the environment in which it has evolved.

Tune your ear to words others use, but also the tone, rhythm, and cadence of their speech. We don’t advocate copying others, but if you keep in mind the diversity of your audience, you’ll cross a communication bridge and make a strong connection.

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