What Makes Us Human? Essay

1377 WordsSep 29, 20166 Pages
“What makes us human?”, is an unanswered question asked by many. Is it because of our ability to have empathy for others? Or is it because of our cognitive ability which allows us to look into the future? One of the main arguments made that separates humans from animals is our communication style; our language. Is language inherently unique to human? To answer such a question, we first operationally define language as; “a system of communication based upon words and the combination of words into sentences” (University of Oslo). The purpose of language is for us to be able to convey an infinite amount of ideas to one another. Sign language in general also falls under this definition as it has a complex system of rules and syntax that allow the signed figures to function as words. Animal communication on the other hand, is operationally defined as, “the transmission of a signal from one animal to another such that the sender benefits, on average, from the response of the recipient” (Pearce 1987). With this in mind, current research has shown that the answer is that language is inherently unique to humans. WHERE DOES HUMAN LANGUAGE COME FROM? The backbone structure of language lies within two fundamental theories, continuity based theory and discontinuity based theory. Continuity theory suggests that human language is another form of animal communication, but it is far more complicated. It can “be can be derived evolutionarily by well-understood processes operating on the kind

More about What Makes Us Human? Essay

Open Document