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Do Animals Have Language?

A brief look at this interesting question

Peter Neville

on 30 April 2010

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Transcript of Do Animals Have Language?

Do Animals have language? Can Animals use Language? Can animals speak?
Can animals understand speech?
Can animals communicate?
Can animals understand communication? What is language? Design features make it different to lower communication types hearing AND speaking
cultural transmission
spontaneous usage
displacement (time)

Many animals use sound - hiss / bark / cry / purr / squeak
Many animals use gesture - tails / teeth / fur
Does this add up to language?
No - BUT ..... Gua - 1930s Viki - 1940s Washoe - 1966 (ASL) Koko - 1970s - ASL Kanzi - 1980s What animals might have language? Monkeys
Any others? What can these animals do? Very restricted set of abilities
Small "vocabulary"
Pressing buttons
Doing puzzles
Obay commands Lily Bees A human child After 3 / 4 years what will happen? Express a range of topics
Talk about past, present and future
talk about things that are not there
learn to lie
create new words What do animals lack? "Equipment"
specific types of intelligence
specific langauge ability
SOME animals can do SOME things
Even those things are always very limited
So, do animals have language? Conclusion Animals do not have anything like the language that all humans speak easily
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