Do Animals Exhibit Language? (Correct Ver.)


Topic: Do Animals Exhibit Language?

Posted by: Soo

Key Terms: None

Summary:

The Case of the Honeybee:

The bee that explored food communicates with the other worker bees by means of an intricate dance. Th direction and duration of the dance informs other bees of the direction and distance of the food source. The honeybee communicates, but not with the elements of language.

The Case of the Apes:

A chimpanzee was taught 132 signs from the human sign language. Apes could combine words creatively, like calling a swan as a "water bird." As for ape language accumulated, their vocabularies and sentences are simple, rather like those of a 2-year-old child, yet the apes do seem to share a small part of the complexes of human language.

But Can Apes Really Talk?

Critics of 'talking apes' researches said:

* Apes gain their limited vocabularies only with great difficulty, while human child pick up so many more words with much less difficulty.

*Pigeonscan also peck a sequence of keys to get grain.

* A chimp cannot distinguish certain syntax. For example, while a child knows the difference between 'tickle you' and 'you tickle,' chimps can't tell.

* Much of chimpanzee's signing is nothing more than apes aping their trainers' signs.

* Interpreting chimpanzee signs as language may be little more than the trainers' wishful thinking.

Although chimpanzees do not have our facility for language, their abilities to think and communicate continue to impress their trainers. The chimps that have learned sign language use it very often, and are even able to translate spoken English words into signs. Also, just like humans, early life is the critical time for learning language.

In conclusion, although trained ape's language capabilities are modest by human standards, their cognitive powers remain impressive. Although animals cannot communicate fully with humans, we now know that primates exhibit insight, show family loyalty, communicate with one another, and so on.

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