Human and Animal Language Systems

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Linguistics

Document 1

However, this has become a hard puzzle to solve due to the lack of substantial evidence, a number of theories try to explain the origin of human language being sounds made from the work they did (Yule, 2016). Examples of such theories include the Pooh-Pooh theory. Communication is not limited to humans alone as we will see in this paper. Animals also have their own mode of communication which can be described as the transmission of information from one animal to another that affects the future or current action of the receiver. This may be in the form of posture, color change, body odor or the combination some of these forms. The inventory of signs is very long for both cases. Body language is also a common factor, for instance an injured animal tends to drag in movement and tends to be slow and at times isolates itself from the rest of the pack whereas a sick person tends to be dull or to wear a sad face and a frightened dog tucks its tail between its legs whereas a scared person tends to shiver.

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Last but not least is an odor. Although the use of odor is limited for humans, it cannot be ruled out (Van den Stock et al, 2008). A person may recognize another familiar person by their odor without seeing them while humans also use perfume so as to smell good and attract others. Another key factor to consider is ontogeny; this refers to how young ones learn to communicate and also how they become fluent communicators. There is a similarity in that for both cases there is a limited inventory of signs. A human child can only express their feelings through a limited number of ways and so is the case of a young animal and both languages can be learned from imitation.

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A child learns to speak from imitating what they hear while a bird also learns to sing from listening to other birds sing. The main difference between the two systems is that while animal language is inborn, human language has to be learned from the parent or the environment, an example would be Lyrebird which can imitate almost anything it hears in the environment it resides. They may also caress another to express their sexual desire and Animals also use this tactic. A newborn puppy will rub their mouth on their mother's mammary glands which results in the production of a hormone by the name oxytocin that facilitates the production of milk (Beck & Andrews, 2017). Human language, however, differs from animal language in that it can be relayed by another individual whereas animal language can only be relayed one on one between the sender and respondent.

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This, therefore, means that animal communication can only be relayed as far as signals, patterns or sound can travel and this limits the relay of messages to a specific radius or geographical area. There is also the feature of exclusivity; human speech can be directed to a certain individual or a specific group, take for instance when a person wants to engage in sexual activity, they communicate with those they would like to associate with only. Complexity refers to how complicated a signal or language is. A major similarity between the two is the combination; both languages can employ different signals simultaneously to relay one message. Take the case of a chimpanzee, it can slap the ground making loud sounds and frown simultaneously to express fear or communicate danger.

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Similarly, a person may laugh, clap their hands and smile simultaneously to express joy or appreciation. Moving on to flexibility, some signals can be used to relay a number of messages in both animals and humans. Animal language lacks symbolism hence ideas cannot be preserved for the future generation. Another factor is Interchangeability where human language is not limited to gender “What a man can do a woman can do”. This, however, is not the case for animals, in chicken only a mature cock can crow. This is also the case of bees whereby only the female bee can relay information by performing the dance (Taylor, 2016). Some actions are limited to sex though there is total feedback. References Beck, J. , & Andrews, K.

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