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Słuchaj i ucz się – S-10. Bird Brain

Wersja do druku

Voice 1


Hello. I'm Marina Santee.


Voice 2


And I'm Elizabeth Lickiss. Welcome to Spotlight. This programme uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.


Voice 1


Have you heard the expression, 'birdbrain?' It is not a nice term! People use it as an insult. Calling someone a birdbrain is like calling someone stupid. It means they have a small brain! Compared to humans, birds do have small brains. But is it also true that birds are stupid?

expression - wyrażenie

birdbrain - ptasi móżdżek

term - termin, określenie

insult - oblega

compared to - w porównaniu z

German scientist Ludvig Edinger studied birds in 1903. He drew a picture of the bird's brain. And he defined the different parts. He used names with Latin roots. But the Latin words made it sound like the birds could not learn. They included words like 'primitive', meaning simple or not as intelligent. The names made the birds sound stupid. Nature and science books used these terms for over one hundred years. But, scientist Erich Jarvis has worked to change all this. Together with many other scientists he re-wrote the scientific names! Jarvis and others believe that birds' brains are far more complex than people originally thought. And he set out to bring justice to the bird brain!

scientist - naukowiec

drew - narysował

root - korzeń

nature - przyroda, natura

re-wrote - ponownie napisał

complex - złożony

set out to - zabrać się do

Voice 2


Scientists at Oxford University perform an experiment on a bird. They are testing the brain of a black crow. They put meat at the bottom of a thin tube. They place a thin straight piece of wire on the top of the tube. Would the crow use the wire to get the food? The crow looks at the meat. She moves around the tube. Then, she gets the wire in her beak, her mouth. She pushes the wire into the tube. But, the wire is straight. It cannot reach the food. So, the crow takes the wire out of the tube. She pushes the end of the wire against the wall. The wire bends. Then, the bird goes to the tube. She puts the bent wire into the tube. The food attaches to the bent end of the wire. She has succeeded! She eats her reward - the meat! The scientists perform the same experiment ten times. In nine out of the ten times the bird makes an effective tool from the wire.

perform an experiment - przeprowadzić eksperyment

crow - wrona

meat - mięso

bottom - spód, dno

thin - cienki

straight - prosty

tube - rura

place - umieścić

wire - drut

beak - dziób

push - pchać

bend - zginać (się)

attach - przymocować

succeed - udać się

reward - nagroda

tool - narzędzie

Harvey Kartnem is a leading scientist in bird studies. He said,

leading - czołowy

Voice 3


'We had not even considered that birds were that able!'

consider - brać pod uwagę

able - zdolny

Voice 1


But over past years, scientists have learned that birds are far more able than they first thought. In the past, scientists believed that birds' brains were mostly 'instinctual'. That is, birds did not think before they acted. Their actions were based on their built-in, natural urges. But scientists have known for many years now that this is not true. Birds' brains are much more complicated. Many contain information processing systems. The cortex is the outer brain shell. It is responsible for controlling some complex behaviour. Scientists used to think that songbirds only had a very small, thin cortex. But now they know that the opposite is true. Some songbirds can teach and learn thousands of different calls. This is called 'vocal' or 'spoken' learning. It is the same communication that makes human language possible.

built-in - tu: wrodzony

urge - potrzeba

contain - zawierać

cortex - kora

outer - zewnętrzny

shell - powłoka

Voice 2


Erich Jarvis is working to understand how scientists can use discoveries into the bird's brain. He hopes to help understanding of human language. He hopes that his work will lead to treatments for complex human speech problems. He said,

discovery - odkrycie

treatment - leczenie

Voice 3


'We want to learn about bird brains so that we can understand how our own brains work. This is for public health, for diseases like Alzheimers' and Parkinsons'. This is more than just bird stuff. It is important to get it right.'

stuff - sprawy, rzeczy

get right - dobrze zrozumieć

Voice 1


This is why Jarvis decided to rename bird brain structures. He said that he and other scientists were studying complex bird behaviours. Yet they were using words that were out of date. The words made it seem like the birds were not intelligent. Jarvis said they had students who did not want to study the bird brain. The terms made bird brains sound uninteresting. The general public could not understand why the bird brain was worth studying. So, the names were important!

out of date - przestarzały

Voice 2


So, names are important. But what is the big deal about changing a few names? How difficult can it be? Well, it is more difficult than you may think. It is a little like trying to change all the names in a town. And then asking the people living there to come and discuss it! But Jarvis did not give in! He sat with the scientists as they argued and debated. Jarvis was a good leader. He permitted everyone to have his or her say. He made sure people listened. He listened. And, finally, result! All the scientists agreed on the names. Publishers printed the new scientific papers.

big deal - wielka rzecz

permit - pozwolić

have his or her say - wrazić swoje zdanie

publisher - wydawca

Voice 1


But a lot of people have criticised Jarvis for his actions. They say that he should have been working on publishing his own papers. He should have been thinking about his individual success. He should not have been wasting time trying to work with other people. But Jarvis believes that working together is often the only way forward. He said,

waste time - marnować czas

forward - naprzód

Voice 3


'It was not easy. But I felt that it was necessary. It was the right and moral thing to do.'

necessary - konieczny

Voice 2


A picture shows the scientists involved in the name-changing process. The twenty-eight scientists stood together. Erich Jarvis stood in the middle. Jarvis looked at the picture. The picture was not quite complete. 'We are not united enough,' he said. And so he asked all the scientists to join hands! He said,

united - zjednoczony

Voice 3


'This shows the rest of the scientific community that we are united in this.'

community - społeczeństwo

Voice 1


Erich Jarvis was awarded the 2005 science pioneer award. The National Institutes of Health, or NIH, gives this highly respected award. The NIH recognises that Jarvis' work could make great changes in the areas of human health. The NIH will give Jarvis' laboratory five hundred thousand dollars every year, for five years.

pioneer - pionier; pionierski

highly respected - wielce poważany

recognise - uznać

Voice 2


So, not everyone criticised Jarvis' effort! And he continues to study the complex workings of the bird brain. He hopes that his work will result in a greater understanding of human behaviour. And, science will be able to offer more help to people with learning or speech problems. Who would have thought that a bird brain contained so many scientific discoveries! Calling someone a bird brain may not be an insult after all!

after all - mimo wszystko, w końcu

Voice 2


The writer and producer of today's programme was Marina Santee. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom. Computer users can hear our programmes, read our scripts and see our word list on our website:


Spotlight on the Internet. Visit our website at


This programme is called 'Bird Brain.'


Voice 1


If you have comments or questions about our Spotlight programmes you can reach us by email. Our address is radio @ english . net. Thank you for joining us in today's Spotlight programme. Until next time, goodbye.


© 2004-2019 Jacek Tomaszczyk & Piotr Szkutnik