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Communicaton between animals and humans

The importance of communication between animals cannot be underestimated.  Through communication, animals are able to concentrate on finding food, avoiding their enemies, mating and caring for their young.  The study of communication between animals and humans is a never ending fascination and a way to learn more about ourselves.

The development of human communication is what makes us exclusive to any living thing on this planet. The ways in which we communicate with one another is uniquely important in our everyday lives. Without its presence, the world would have no development, holding the same appearance as one million years ago. We would be lacking a sense of society and most probably be still in the Stone Age. The mystery of the development of human language constitutes how we are uniquely human from other animals. Human beings have a daily working vocabulary of 1000 words, and with our knowledge on how to use grammatical rules is what makes our sense of communication more sophisticated than any animal.

Verbal communication between humans is the central, most relevant factor in a sophisticated society. People have evolved into expressive and capable members of society. The human language has been around for five thousand years and it is apparent that language has been complex long before that. The human language is quite problematic as grammar and syntax play a major role in defining language. Animals have an extremely primitive way of communicating compared to humans, and the way in which we communicate. Animals cannot verbally speak like us humans and studies verify this.

It is the existence of human communication that has made the world the place it is today. Through communication, human beings have created skyscrapers, long bridges to complicated forms of transportation. We have also had the ability to start world destruction and encourage world peace. It is through learning how to communicate with other humans for almost five thousand years that a persons way of thinking has expanded and information has been passed on from generation to generation. Without a well-advanced language system, we would not be able to function as a successful society that is constantly making advanced and technological developments.

The ways in which we communicate to each other begins from the day we are born. A baby will communicate to us through cry, body gestures and play. For example, when an infant is tired, hungry, upset or uncomfortable, they will cry to let us know how they are feeling. When a baby needs our attention, they will automatically kick and move around until we pick them up or play with them. It is through a parents instinct that we are able to read these signs of baby communication.

Through the babies first year of life, they will constantly use baby talk as a way of communicating. They learn to speak through babble, as they are beginning to expand on vowel sounds which form words. According to Preyer (1956), Sigismund had found,  As the first articulate sounds made by a child from Thuringen, ma, ba, bu, appa, ange, anna, brrr, arrr : these were made about the middle of the first three months. Sigismund is of the opinion that this first lisping, or babbling consists in the production of syllables with only two sounds, of which the consonant is most often the first; that the first consonants distinctly pronounced are the labials.   A child will imitate the words we use or sounds they hear and add them to their vocabulary. It may sound like babble to us, but this is the way in which a child gains an understanding 11/12/2002linguistic meanings, it still includes syllables and other word like sounds. A common example is Dink for drink, duce for juice and nana for banana. They seem to use alternative words that are easier to pronounce as their vowel sounds hasnt developed properly. In time, children will learn their grammatical skills from nursery rhymes or playing with other children. The American linguist Noam Chomsky exclaimed that, Human language is a special faculty that has a specific biological basis and that has evolved only in humans. Language arose because the brain passed a threshold in size, and only human children can learn language because they have special innate equipment necessary to do so.

Through watching two children, which are Ameerah (three years) and Ali (two years) interact with each other it became obvious that human babies actually learn from each other. Ali is still young and holds a poor vocabulary speaking 50% of his daily speech with just babble. The parents of Ali found it quite difficult to understand him, asking Ameerah to translate for them. Because Ameerah is around Ali 24 hours of a day and they spend a lot of that time interacting and playing with each other, she is able to understand any babble he has to say. Stewart (1968) suggested that, Young children learn more speech from other children than from adults, and that through this process, the older dialects of any language can usually be found in the speech of children, as well as in the oldest members of a speech community.  As the quote had stated, Ameerah and Ali learn a lot of language from each other, rather than through their parents. This could be because adults have a duty to work, either home based or office based and children are left to play with their brothers or sisters, attend play groups or school.

It will take eighteen years of a childs life learning from their parents before they are left to their own devices. The human language is a sophisticated for of communication, which will expand the mind through the childs first eighteen years. Through a strong communication system, the child might go on to be the next rocket scientist, architect or doctor and most probably make new technological developments. On the contrary, it will take an animal a few months or ever less significant time before they are challenged to face the wild out-doors alone. This is because humans will develop a lot slower than animals. This also gives a human child a long time to learn, either through education, current affairs or reading. Animals are very unique living things and usually adopt their communication skills naturally at a young age. Lenneberg (1967) argued that, Any similarities noted between language and animal communication rest on superficial intuition and are spurious rather than real, logical rather than biological.  This source demonstrates that animals do not have any sense of culture or society, just a sense of nature.

The question arose in everyones mind wondering, do animals communicate? The resounding answer has to be yes, and there is evidence of many different kinds of communication in the animal kingdom. Animals use communication to tell others of their territory, start and stop fights, warn others of danger or find a mate. They will use different methods of communication to say these things, for example, wolves howl, dogs bark, cats meow and birds chirp. Animals dont only communicate to each other with the use of sound but also by touch, sight, noise, smell and body gestures. They dont have any signs of grammar and syntax, which keeps their communication limited. They will use communication by transmitting information like a signal to other members of their species. An example would be in insects such as the ant that rely a great deal upon chemical messengers. Queen ants can communicate with their workers through smell. The queen will produce different chemicals, which rub off on her workers. As the ants run antennas, the message travels to more ants, telling them what to do. The chemicals can tell the ants to march across the forest or to camp for the night. Another example would be that of the African monkey, the vervet. They use a variety of calls to symbolise a range of threats, producing a chutter to warn others that a snake is nearby or a distinct eagle call when an eagle is overhead.

We are all pretty familiar with the different forms of communication animals are created to make, but animals use sounds in other ways to. Sometimes making the right sound can be a matter of life and death. With some spiders, including the black widow, the male is much smaller than the female. When the male wishes to approach the female to mate, he will climb onto her web and then steps carefully to vibrate the web in a certain pattern. The vibration gives the message to the female that he is one of her kind and not to eat him. The female may accept him as a mate or she might eat him anyway, this is why she is called the black widow.

However, we are all fully aware that animals have a sense of communication between one another, but not near enough as effective or sophisticated as human communication. Animals lack grammar and syntax, which keeps their communication complex, which is why they cannot go into depths like humans can.  Even the most sophisticated animal of all time, the vervet, isnt near enough effective as human communication, as they make strange noises to alert that predator is near by. If their language system was as sophisticated as ours, the vervet would have their own sense of society and be able to understand education to become a better vervet. Personally thinking, no animal communication can ever measure up to humans because of what we have achieved in society.

The signs of animal communication are used in indexes. As far as we know, animals cant communicate about yesterday, or about what might be or wasnt. In this way animal communication systems are not unlike the repertoire of sounds of a 12-month-old infant, who has a way of conveying in something immediately present. Otherwise, conveying emotional responses such as discontent, loneliness, and a few other basic states of being.

On the contrary, human language can be used as an index, just like animal communication, but it may also exhibit displacement. Humans cannot only talk about things that are absent but also about things that have never been. Humans can invent myths and tell lies. The human language can be used arbitrarily, with a stimulus deep within the speakers psyche and the topic not present or even non-existent. Animal languages can only be used by means of pointing to something directly present in time and space. Animal systems are also non-creative and cannot be used metaphorically or figuratively. As far as we know, animals cannot lie or invent myths.

Human beings use a complex language system including grammar and syntax to structure sentences, which enables us to correspond with each other more precisely than any animal. Humans are more developed, intelligent and have qualities animals do not have. We certainly have more power that puts humans at the top of evolution. But I will argue that there is no proof that we are better, or smarter than any animal. Scientists and linguists may compare our communicative levels, but how do we know for sure that animals dont have a strong language system?

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