A language is a form of symbols used for instructing and decoding data or information. Recently, there are several artificial languages that have been designed which need differentiation between their intentionally natural language and innovated type. Natural languages are types of communication that are regarded as unique by human beings. Though there are animals that utilize some complicated systems of communication and these are called animal languages.
Animal language is basically the modification of human language though in a non-human approach. In addition, animal language is not as multifaceted as human language is. According to researchers, an essential distinction exists between animal language and human language in that people communicate while animals sound (Cloney & Florey 1998, pp. 255-257). Moreover, evolutionary variety exists between the techniques of communication utilized by animals and people. Therefore, evaluation of the evolutionary continuum could assist in describing the way humanity originated or evolved its extraordinarily complicated expertise for language.
Animal languages are complicated and controversial since they use different sounds to communicate with one another. Researchers have carried out studies on how to train animals to use human language. For instance, two researchers; Winthrop and Luella raised a young chimpanzee together with their young son. Their main purpose was for the chimpanzee to learn human language. However, the animal understood several words though it could not utter any word (Byrne, Griebel, Wood & Mather 2003, p. 34). This indicated that animals do not have a vocal that could assist them to produce sounds as human beings do.
Similarly, human intelligence is a great indicator that brings in a difference between human language and animal language. For instance, some elements of humankind’s language such as duality, productivity, displacement, cultural transmission, metalinguistics, discreteness, and arbitrariness distinguish a human being from animal language. Cultural transmission in human beings’ aspect shows that language is inherited intentionally or unconsciously from one individual to another who arbitrarily uses similar language. Secondly, based on displacement, languages could be utilized to communicate concepts regarding issues that cannot be seen at the moment but might be viewed in the future.
Thirdly, duality explains how language functions in two ways at once, both at the meaningful level and surface area (Deacon 1998, p. 23). For example, individuals are able to produce words in a single form such as ‘s, a, and t’. On the other hand, these single words can be produced in a combined form as ‘sat’ and this will have a different meaning compared to the earlier words. According to human intelligence, people are able to discuss language and create significant meaning out of language.
There are similarities between animal language and human language. First, human communication is a signaling approach that utilizes sounds, a feature that is utilized by animals. On the other hand, in animal language, a relationship exists between the signal used and the information communicated, and the setting is mostly genetically inbuilt. Within human communication, the signs are mainly subjective and the setting is mainly passed from one generation to the other (Polinsky, Comrie & Matthews 2003, p. 67).
Displacement and duality are present in human language but are exceptionally unusual in animal language; there is no animal language system that has both displacement and duality. Creativity, the capacity for an individual to generate novel utterances, appears not to exist or to be possessed by non-human creatures. Eventually, patterning and system reliance might also be distinctive language characteristics.
Byrne, R., Griebel, B., Wood, H., & Mather, J. 2003. Squids say it with skin: a graphic model for skin displays in Caribbean Reef Squid. Berliner Geowissenschaftliche Abhandlungen, 3: 29-35.
Cloney, R. & Florey, E. Ultrastructure of cephalopod chromatophore organs. Zellforsch Mikrosk Anat, 89:250-280.
Deacon, T. 1998. The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Polinsky, M., Comrie, B., & Matthews, S. 2003. The atlas of languages: the origin and development of languages throughout the world. New York: Macmillan.