Human Language vs Animal Language, BUT, source: https://courses…
Human Language vs Animal Language
Introduction to Human Language
Human language is generative, which means that it can communicate an infinite number of ideas from a finite number of parts.
Human language is recursive, which means that it can build upon itself without limits.
Human language uses displacement, which means that it can refer to things that are not directly present.
The origins of human language are disputed because there is a lack of direct evidence.
Proto-Indo-European is the ancestor language of hundreds of languages today.
Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the name for the common ancestor of the Indo-European language family. A language family is a group of languages descended from a common language. The Indo European language family contains 445 current languages, and all of them are thought to have descended from PIE.
While both animals and humans use systems of communication, the use of complex symbols and open vocal systems is unique to humans.
Communication in both animals and humans consists of signals. Signals are sounds or gestures that have meaning to those using them.
Human communication consists of both signals and symbols. Symbols are sounds, gestures, material objects, or written words that have specific meaning to a group of people.
Key differences between human communication and that of other primates are that (1) humans have an open vocal system while other primates have a closed vocal system, and (2) humans have a larger bank of symbols to use in communication.
Human language consists of a lexicon and a grammar.
Design features of human language:
Animals can convey various message to each other, such as:
feelings (anger, fear)
desire/willingness to mate
location of food sources
what can animals do?
Some can learn hundreds of signs.
Some can associate meaning with sign.
Some show understanding of simple, novel combinations.
Most animals merely exhibit stimulus-response behavior.
Ability to learn structure is lacking.
Novel utterances are rare.