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Do dogs talk? UTA researcher working to find out

Do dogs talk? UTA researcher working to find out
Do dogs talk? UTA researcher working to find out 02:05

NORTH TEXAS – Do dogs talk? If you have one, you'd probably argue your loving companion speaks to you in a language only you understand. 

Now, a researcher at UT Arlington is trying to prove it by studying the language of your furry friend. 

Kenny Zhu, a professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Arlington, is dedicated to decoding the mystified language of man's best friend. 

"People are fascinated by this topic," Zhu said. "I have always wondered if they have language."

Zhu is currently using machine learning to translate dog sounds into phonetic representations and eventually words.

By collecting sounds from different sources and stripping away other noises, Zhu then catalogs the sounds and segments them into pieces like syllables, assigning each a symbol similar to our alphabet. 

"This is all really early research," he said. "There's not a lot of people studying this sort of thing."

The project is backed by a three-year, $483,000 grant. 

Zhu said the answers couldn't be more important to the future of understanding and communicating with all animals we coexist with. 

"It boils down to facilitating better communication between different species and ultimately we just want to have a better world," he said.

So far, Zhu has transcribed about 10 hours' worth of barks into meaning and found that dogs in different parts of the world "speak" differently too.

He said this is only the beginning of the discoveries to come.

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