12_animal_language - Animal Languages 1 Do animals have...

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Animal Languages 1. Do animals have language? 1. 1. Two (or three) important questions Q : Do animals have human-like languages? A : Animal language lacks some of the more complex features of human language. Q : Then, can they be taught such languages? A : Animals have learned some aspects of human language. Q : Is language, then, a unique ability of humans, or a complex elaboration of gen- eral cognitive abilities? A : ??? 1. 2. Sign, Communication, Language Animals communicate with signs, but these sys- tems lack the structure and creativity of human languages. 2. Signs shared by humans and other animals Animals and humans share the use of indexical or iconic signs. Examples: signs of anger or hostility Dog : Hair stands up in back. Tail is stiff. Indexicality : prepare to fight Monkey : Light coloring shows when brow is lowered. Indexicality : focuse vision on enemy. Q UESTION : What are the signs of anger or hostil- ity in humans? Do we have symbolic expressions of anger, or only indexical ones? 3. Communication in three animal species 3. 1. Vervet monkeys Different warning calls for different predators : Snake : High-pitched chutter Leopard : Short tonal call Eagle : Low-pitched staccato grunt Language-like aspects of vervet calls
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ENG 01 taught by Professor Orgun during the Winter '08 term at UC Davis.

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12_animal_language - Animal Languages 1 Do animals have...

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