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Animal language is the modeling of human language in non human animal systems. While the term is widely used, researchers agree that animal languages are not as complex or expressive as human language.
Some researchers including the linguist Charles Hockett, who proposed a list of design features of Human Language, argue that there are significant differences separating human language from animal communication even at its most complex, and that the underlying principles are not related. Accordingly, Thomas A. Sebeok has proposed not to use the term 'language' in case of animal sign systems.
Others argue that an evolutionary continuum exists between the communication methods these animals use and human language. Examining this continuum could help explain how humanity evolved its incredibly sophisticated proficiency for language.
Contents [hide] * 1 Aspects of human language * 2 Non-Primates: Studied examples * 3 Comparison of the term with "animal communication" * 4 See also * 4.1 Researchers * 4.2 Animals * 5 References * 6 Further reading * 7 External links |
 Aspects of human language
Human and ape, in this case Claudine Andre with a bonobo.
The following properties of human language have been argued to separate it from animal communication:
* Arbitrariness: There is not necessarily a rational relationship between a sound or sign and its meaning, i.e. symbolism. (There is nothing intrinsically "housy" about the word "house".)
* Cultural transmission: Language is passed from one language user to the next, consciously or unconsciously.
* Discreteness: Language is composed of discrete units that are used in combination to create meaning.
* Displacement: Languages can be used to communicate ideas about things that are not in the immediate vicinity either spatially or temporally, or both.
* Duality: Language works on two levels at once, a surface... [continues]
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