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Elephant mimics Korean with help of his trunk

1 November 2012 Last updated at 16:02 GMT

An Asian elephant called Koshik has astounded scientists with his Korean language skills.

Researchers report that the mammal has learnt to imitate human speech and can say five words in Korean: hello, no, sit down, lie down and good.

The zoo animal places the tip of his trunk into his mouth to transform his natural low rumble into a convincing impression of a human voice.

Here, Koshik interacts with his trainer. The conversation goes as follows:

Koshik: "choah" (good)

Trainer: "choah choah annyeong" (good good hello)

Koshik: "choah" (good)

Trainer: "choah choah annyeong" (good good hello)

Koshik: "choah" (good)

Trainer: "choah choah" (good good)

Koshik: "choah" (good)

Trainer: "annyeong" (hello)

Koshik: "choah" (good)

Trainer: "annyeong" (hello)

Footage courtesy of Angela Stoeger and Current Biology