Suppose they have non-flexible beaks, but they still posses vocal cords and a tongue capable of producing the same sounds as humans. Variation of these bird-people are as follows:

Beaks of different kinds of birds

What types of sound should not be assumed to be part of their language?

  • $\begingroup$ This would benefit from some very basic spell checking $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Apr 29, 2017 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ sorry english is not my first english will be editing $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2017 at 2:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ languages stay away from the extreme ends of the vocal range becasue you run in difficulty hearing them, that should hold for birds even more so since they have poorer hearing than humans. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 29, 2017 at 3:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Kilisi English is not the first language of everyone here on WorldBuilding. If you see a post that is in need of an edit you can click the "edit"-button to help the user. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Apr 29, 2017 at 10:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Secespitus English is neither my first nor my second language, so I rarely attempt an edit. I have no trouble using a spellchecker though, doesn't mean I'm going to use it for everyone else. $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Apr 29, 2017 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


Birds don't have vocal cords, what they do have is a syrinx, which is more drum-like to the human vibrating strings.

So when a bird mimics human speech, it's less repeating the words it hears, so much as replicating the noises in a human "song". The syrinx is the main reason birds have such a wide vocal range (I'd like to hear you perfectly replicate the sound of plastic clattering inside a vacuum).

Humans rely on our lips, tongues, and mouths to provide the diversity of sound required for our complex verbal languages (birds rely on the "drum" in their neck). However for a group of the stiff-beaked races above, any sounds requiring motion beyond opening/closing your mouth should be discounted if relying on human vocal cords. Pull back your lips(with the attached muscles, not your fingers) and try to pronounce the sound. For instance, "Oh" requires lip movement, while "Ah" and "A" do not.

  • There are 44 "sounds" in the English language.
  • here you can find a downloadable chart for a more international scale.

But you can bypass this entire problem by giving the bird-people syrinxes.

[edit] thank you to @John for allowing me to realize my assumption of preferred language, it was narrow-minded of me and I apologize.

  • $\begingroup$ lithuanians have more than 50, of course the total possible range for humans is much much wider, so expect many to go unused in your birds. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 29, 2017 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ tanks for the comment $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2017 at 3:16
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    $\begingroup$ I'd like to hear you perfectly replicate the sound of plastic clattering inside a vacuum You've never met a sound effects guy, have you? $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2017 at 4:13

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