More Bizarro parrots

Today’s Bizarro returns to the talking parrot trope:

Paradoxical animal communication. The parrot clearly understands the question and responds in English, while denying that it understands.

Earlier Bizarro parrots:

AZ on Language Log, 1/6/10, “New frontiers in animal communication”: parrot talking through door, owner bound and gagged in the cage: “False alarm, officers. Sorry for the bother.”

On this blog, 7/7/12, “We need to talk, more takes”: #1, woman to parrot at restaurant table: “We need to talk.”

On this blog, 3/19/13, “Can we talk?”, parrot to parrot. More paradox. From the posting:

An ambiguity in communicative intent. There’s the ominous question “Can we talk?” between intimates, conveying “Let’s talk!” — suggesting a subject that the recipient will find distressing. (“Can we talk?” is often an opener to a break-up speech or to personal criticism.) This has the can of permission.

Then there’s the can of ability: are we able to talk? This is a paradoxical question: the parrot produces something that sounds like an English question, about ability, but the ability in question is being able to produce utterances with intentions and to comprehend those intentions, and it’s unclear — indeed, very unlikely — that the parrot has this ability.

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