Do Animals Have Language?

1403 WordsJan 15, 20136 Pages
To what extent we can say animals have language? Are animals capable of language? It is in the opinion of the author that animals do not have the capability of language; this essay will focus and put forward the evidence as to why this opinion takes place. Language is a form of communication; it can be visual, audio or sensory. In humans the vocal language provides only 10 per cent of how we communicate, body language plays a much higher role, however, both verbal and non verbal language in humans is intentional, communicating about past, present and future, thus defining it as language, whereas in animals this is not always the case, their communication is immediate and relates to issues of immediate importance. Research suggests…show more content…
Semantily is also present in her use of sign “more”. Firstly, she associated this sign only with tickling situation but later she used it to demand “more” food (Aitchison, 1989). Another important property of language is a cultural transmission or tradition (Yule, 1985). This indicates that language is not genetically inbuilt in humans- it must be learnt from the environment. However, this cannot be applied to animals whose learning is instinctive. For example, a puppy born in England or in any other different country will always produce the same sound whereas a baby born for example in Sweden but brought up in England will automatically become a fluent speaker of English. This, however, also has some exceptions which suggest that this feature is not unique to humans- for example birds – if these are in their first weeks separated from other birds they will still produce songs but these will be abnormal to their species (Yule, 1985). Among Hockett’s features is also a spontaneous usage of language. This occurs when the speech is initiated freely. This is said to be present in both human and animal communication systems as most of the animals do express freely. Although there might be some difficulties to decide whether the answer is yes or no. These are based on experiment with chimpanzees that proved that in the interaction with humans they only rarely initiated the conversation and if they spoke, most of the times it was in response to trainer’s questions

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