Human language is distinct from the language of other creatures. Human language is indeed such unique from of communication, then it would seem inconceivable that other would be able to develop an understanding  of expression. It seems difficult to conceive of animals understanding human languge, the it appears to be even less likely that an animal would be capable of producing human language.

Chimpanzees and language

The idea of raising a chimp and child togheter may seem like a nightmare, but this is basically what was done in an early attempt to teach a chimpanzee to use human language. Studying language for it was remarkable achievement since it has become clear that non human primates do not have a physically structured vocal tract which is suitable for producing human speech sound.


Washoe like a human child in a comfortable domestic environment. Even more impressive was washoe’s ability to take these form and combine them to produce “sentences” which would seem to indicate that her linguistic system had the potencial to producing human language. Another chimpanzees are sarah and lina was being taught to use a set of plastic shapes for purpose of communicating with human. It must be noticed that this symbol its arbitrary since it would be hard to argue for any natural connection between an apple and blue plastic triangle. A lot of skepticism regarding these apparent linguistic skills.

Nim chimpsky

Linguist Noam Chomsky, had claimed that language is an innate ability and unique to the human species. His conclucion was that chimpanzees are clever creature who lear to produce the certain type of behaviou (signing) in order to get reward. And who are essentially performing sophiscated ‘tricks’. Consequently, they are signing is not linguistic behaviour at all.

Hans, Buzz and Doris

The argument presented by terrace are very similar to those which have been used in the past to discredit claims that any animal that capable of understanding and using any form of linguistic communication. The conclusion was that Doris behaviour consist of condition responses to the difference light signals buzz’s behavior was conditionet to responding to Doris’s calls.

The controversy

These two phenomena, unwitting cues provided by human trainers and the condicioned responses behavior of animals, are usually cited as the explanation of language like behavior in animals generally and of chimpanzees in particular. The idea of chimpanzees developing language-like skills with other chimpanzees was also crucial in the case of Sherman and Austin.


2 pemikiran pada “Animals and Human Language

  1. Quite interesting to see that animals have their own language skills yet humans are still interested in trying to get them to produce human language sounds. No matter the communication method, it is fascinating to me that complex communication occurs in so many species.

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