The "Language" of Animals

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Tweeting, crowing, braying, and barking are forms of communication that certain animals use. Are the sounds of animals considered language? For this writer this question was a hard one because communication has always been considered language prior to this class experience. The definition of language would cause the answer to this question to be a resounding yes. Language is defined as being not only communicative but also arbitrary, structured, generative and dynamic (Willingham, 2007). If one were to observe animal’s long enough such as birds, or dogs, it can be noted that the birds sing songs that are used to alarm, just as dogs bark to communicate to other dogs in ear shot. Many individuals would argue that the sounds made by animals, while dynamic and communicative are not structured enough to be considered language. To this, a great argument would be the form of communication used by the Himba tribe a nomadic tribe of people in southwestern Africa that consists of what sounds like a series of clicks. Their language is part of the Bantu linguistic family, called the Dhimba. While the language is a compilation of what may appear to be simple clicks, each combination of clicks has a meaning just as each combination of letters in all other languages have a meaning. Because the clicks have meaning they are communicative, dynamic and structured just as animal sounds are for the animals they are attributed to. This author has direct lineage to this tribe from her biological father’s side of the family, and has been able to understand the most rudimentary portions of the Dhimba language but not the more complex combinations. Human cognition is not a prerequisite of being a language, though many may try. Human cognition in comb... ... middle of paper ... ...46 phonemes within the English dialect which can be joined to create words that create sentences, which then create texts. Language ambiguity is overcome by employing dialogue stream effect and concomitance of articulation, by using phonemic prompting, syntax and grammar. The largest thing to remember is that language has a great influence on cognitive functions such as memory representations. References Fritz, J.M., Fritz, R.C. (1985). Linguistic structure and economic method. Journal of Economic Issues, 19(1), 75-101. Retrieved August 11, 2009, from EBSCOHost Database. Sevinc, M., Turner, C. (1976). Language and the latent structure of cognitive development. International Journal of Psychology, 11(4), 231. Retrieved August 11, 2009, from EBSCOHost Database. Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal. New York, NY: Pearson Prentice Hall.
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