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Review of Language: The purposes and diversities of a language, and what really separates us from the animals

By josdea Nov 19, 2003 1206 Words
Scents and Sense

1) The barking of dogs, meowing of cats and the singing of birds are similar to the human language because they are all forms of communication. These communications all transmit emotions or messages that are understood by other species members. For example, there are different types of barks by a dog that is barking defensively as opposed to a dog that is barking for a treat. A cat will meow differently when it is wanting to be fed as to being threatened by another animal. As with a bird, it's happy chirps can be different from it's call of fear or warning of danger. Likewise, we too communicate our basic needs and fears as dogs, cats and birds do. Our language however, is far more complex and a lot higher thinking than any dog, cat or bird. In our language we have the ability to communicate in past, present or future tense because we have a sense of temporal passing. A dog though, will bark, communicating that it is hungry right now, or right now it is cold or right now its tail was stepped on. Humans are not limited by what is currently happening but we can express what did happen or what will happen.

2) A parrot does not speak excellent English just because it can produce complicated sentences like, "I want jam with my cracker." Speaking is not merely generating sounds. It involves an understanding of what is said or heard. The parrot is simply copying sounds and noises that have been repeated to it, and then producing the same noises itself. There is no awareness of the significance of the sounds, just a copy. Words are symbols. For excellent English, these symbols must be understood, and a parrot cannot do this.

3) If a wolf did have a thousand or more emotions or messages that could be expressed using its tail, it would have more capabilities than a barking dog or the meowing cat. The wolf, would still be however, limited to present emotions that he is currently feeling or current messages he wishes to express, with no reference to the future or the past. Human body language is equivalent to the wolf and its tail expressions. We can express anger, impatience, approval, pride and joy in our body language. Body language or non-verbal language are similar. Human language is much more complex and involves awareness beyond the moment.

4) A dog taught to do anything through vocal symbols does know language on a very minute basis. He has the ability to identify and act upon certain sounds and tones of voice. The dictionary defines language as "human speech spoken or written." So yes, the dog does "know" and recognize a small variety of English. What is important to remember is the word tones. Tones are important because dogs do not recognize words for what they are or the letters they contain, but by how they are pronounced and what tone of voice is used with them. For example, the command to "heel", would get the same result for the word "veal" if said in the same tone of voice.

5) A single chimpanzee or even a pair of chimpanzees could never teach sign language to their offspring. Sign language is ideas or objects represented by different positions of the hand and fingers. A young chimp could copy its mother or father's hand actions, but if it did not first understand the meanings behind the signs, it would not really know sign language. The chimpanzee could teach only sign language limited to concrete things. It could not teach conceptual things such as loyalty or justice.

What is Language?

1) 5 Ungrammatical Sentences and why they are ungrammatical.

a) The boy sat under the jumping.

The word jumping replaces the necessary noun.

b) Ketchup he ate them on hamburger with the his.

The words are mixed up and not in proper form.

c) I gleaked a porus at the zoomster.

The words are nonsense words.

d) I'm slipped to played all house tomorrow.

The words are in the wrong temporal tense and mixed up.

e) The cow jumped over the joyful.

Joyful should be a noun not an adjective.

2)

a) "He made a tip of the slung"

This sentence is English; all the words are English words and found in the dictionary, but these words do not make sense in this context. Slung is a verb, not a noun.

b) "He made a slip of the tongue"

This sentence is English; all the words are in the dictionary and the words make sense when used in this context.

c) "Eh mae a lpsi of the ngto"

This sentence is not English; not all of the words can be found in the dictionary and they do not make sense. They do not follow the rules for spelling for English - E.g.. "Lpsi" needs a vowel to separate the consonants.

3) "I learned a new sentence today" is a very odd statement and not very commonly used or heard. Learning a new word is very common and plausible. There is a very large number of words but there is a limit to how many words we can learn, but there is no limit to the number of sentences that can be made with those words. So every sentence spoken in essence could be a new sentence.

Signs and Symbols

1) Words and their power may mean many different things. Although definitions of words may remain somewhat universal, meanings to specific individuals change. For example, a certain event in history may be significant to one person, but not important at all to someone else. This is similar in the way of words. The power and importance of words really depends on how much relevance is given to them from the user. The importance given to a word can be based on the context of the word or the meaning. The circumstance in which it is used and also the significance given by individual upbringing is also important. There is also the fact that a single word can have more then one meaning,

E.g.. - read or read (reed or red)

Language is Sacred

1) "If you don't have anything good to say don't say it."

The above statement is usually used to teach or encourage people to either be positive or be quiet. The meaning of good is "supportive, positive and affirming" This piece of advice is for the most part good to keep in mind and good to follow as much as possible, but there are times when one must be negative, to insult or bring attention to an injustice or wrong. After World War II, people spoke out against the wrong that Hitler and the Germans had been doing to the Jews. During World War II, there was nothing good to say about the war but something had to be said, and something had to be done. Yes as a Christian, I consider this above quote a good principle for language use. However, as already stated there are times when it is necessary to speak up and against issues where there is nothing "good" to say.

Silence

Silence can communicate positive things, such as: remembrance, attentiveness, approval, regard, remittance, interest and honour. +-

Silence can also communicate negative things, such as: disapproval, rebellion, mourning, boredom, sorrow, sadness, fear, suspicion, indifference, disinterest, disagreement, and condemnation.

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