Translate This Blog
English French German Spain Italian Dutch Russian Portuguese Japanese Korean Arabic Chinese Simplified


Martos Alfitri

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 complexes, and that the underlying principles are not related. (Hocket , Charles F. 1960. Logical considerations in the study of animal communication. Animals sounds and animal communication, ed. W.E. Lanyon and W.N. Tavolga, pp. 392-430).
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.
In the wild chimpanzees have been seen "talking" to each other, when warning about approaching danger. For example, if one chimpanzee sees a snake, he makes a low, rumbling noise, signaling for all the other chimps to climb into nearby trees. In this case, the chimpanzees' communication is entirely contained to an observable event, demonstrating a lack of displacement.
Arbitrariness has been noted in meerkat calls; bee dances show elements of spatial displacement; and cultural transmission has possibly occurred between the celebrated bonobos Kanzi and Panbanisha.
Non-Primates: Studied examples
The most studied examples of animal languages are:
• Bee dance - used to communicate direction and distance of food source in many species of bees.[2]
• Bird songs - songbirds can be very articulate. African Grey Parrots are famous for their ability to mimic human language, and at least one specimen, Alex, appeared able to answer a number of simple questions about objects he is presented with. Parrots, hummingbirds and songbirds- display vocal learning patterns.
• Whale songs - Two groups of whales, the Humpback Whale and the subspecies of Blue Whale found in the Indian Ocean, are known to produce the repetitious sounds at varying frequencies known as whale song. Male Humpback Whales perform these vocalizations only during the mating season, and so it is surmised the purpose of songs is to aid sexual selection. Humpbacks also make a sound called the feeding call. This is a long sound (5 to 10 s duration) of near constant frequency. Humpbacks generally feed cooperatively by gathering in groups, swimming underneath shoals of fish and all lunging up vertically through the fish and out of the water together. Prior to these lunges, whales make their feeding call. The exact purpose of the call is not known, but research suggests that fish know what it means. When the sound was played back to them, a group of herring responded to the sound by moving away from the call, even though no whale was present.
• Prairie dog language: Dr. Slobodchikoff studied prairie dog communication and made the following discoveries. His current findings are that prairie dogs have:
o different alarm calls for different species of predators;
o different escape behaviors for different species of predators;
o transmission of semantic information, in that playbacks of alarm calls in the absence of predators lead to escape behaviors that are appropriate to the kind of predator who elicited the alarm calls;
o alarm calls containing descriptive information about the general size, color, and speed of travel of the predator. Northern Arizona University Research
• Caribbean Reef Squid have been shown to communicate using a variety of color, shape, and texture changes. Squid are capable of rapid changes in skin color and pattern through nervous control of chromatophores.[3] In addition to camoflauge and appearing larger in the face of a threat, squids use color, patterns, and flashing to communicate with one another in various courtship rituals. Caribbean Reef Squid can send one message via color patterns to a squid on their right, while they send another message to a squid on their left
It is worth distinguishing "animal language" from "animal communication", no matter how complex the latter may be. In general the term "animal language" is reserved for the modeling of human language in animal systems; though there is some comparative interchange in certain cases (e.g. Cheney & Seyfarth's vervet monkey call studies). Thus "animal language" typically does not include bee dancing, bird song, whale song, dolphin signature whistles, prairie dogs, nor the communicative systems found in most social mammals. Also the features of language as listed above are a dated formulation by Hockett in 1960. Through this formulation Hockett made one of the earliest attempts to break down features of human language for the purpose of applying Darwinian gradualism. Although an influence on early animal language efforts (see below), is today not considered the key architecture at the core of "animal language" research.
Animal Language results are controversial for several reasons. (For a related controversy, see also Clever Hans.) In the 1970s John Lilly was attempting to "break the code": to fully communicate ideas and concepts with wild populations of dolphins so that we could "speak" to them, and share our cultures, histories, and more. This effort failed. The very early [chimpanzee] work was with chimpanzee infants raised as if they were human; a test of the nature vs. nurture hypothesis. Chimpanzees have a very different laryngeal structure than humans, as well as no voluntary control of their breathing. This combination made it very difficult for the chimpanzees to reproduce the vocal intonations required for human language. Researchers eventually moved towards a gestural (sign language) modality, as well as "keyboard" devices laden with buttons adorned with symbols (known as "lexigrams") that the animals could press to produce artificial language. Other chimpanzees learned by observing human subjects performing the task. This latter group of researchers studying chimpanzee communication through symbol recognition (keyboard) as well as through the use of sign language (gestural), are on the forefront of communicative breakthroughs in the study of animal language, and they are familiar with their subjects on a first name basis: Sarah, Lana, Kanzi, Koko, Sherman, Austin and Chantek.
Perhaps the best known critic of "Animal Language" is Herbert Terrace. Terrace's 1979 criticism using his own research with the chimpanzee Nim Chimpsky was scathing and basically spelled the end of animal language research in that era, most of which emphasized the production of language by animals. In short, he accused researchers of over-interpreting their results, especially as it is rarely parsimonious to ascribe true intentional "language production" when other simpler explanations for the behaviors (gestural hand signs) could be put forth. Also, his animals failed to show generalization of the concept of reference between the modalities of comprehension and production; this generalization is one of many fundamental ones that are trivial for human language use. The simpler explanation according to Terrace was that the animals had learned a sophisticated series of context-based behavioral strategies to obtain either primary (food) or social reinforcement, behaviors that could be over-interpreted as language use.
In 1985 during this anti-Animal Language backlash, Louis Herman published an account of artificial language in the bottlenosed dolphin in the human journal Cognition. A major difference between Herman's work and previous research was his emphasis on a method of studying language comprehension only (rather than language comprehension and production by the animal(s)), which enabled rigorous controls and statistical tests, largely because he was limiting his researchers to evaluating the animals' physical behaviors (in response to sentences) with blinded observers, rather than attempting to interpret possible language utterances or productions. The dolphins' names here were Akeakamai and Phoenix. Irene Pepperberg used the vocal modality for language production and comprehension in an African Grey Parrot named Alex in the verbal mode, and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh continues to study Bonobos such as Kanzi and Panbanisha. R. Schusterman duplicated many of the dolphin results in his California Sea Lions ("Rocky"), and came from a more behaviorist tradition than Herman's cognitive approach. Schusterman's emphasis is on the importance on a learning structure known as "equivalence classes."
However, overall, there has not been any meaningful dialog between the linguistics and animal language spheres, despite capturing the public's imagination in the popular press. Also, the growing field of language evolution is another source of future interchange between these disciplines. Most primate researchers tend to show a bias toward a shared pre-linguistic ability between humans and chimpanzees, dating back to a common ancestor, while dolphin and parrot researchers stress the general cognitive principles underlying these abilities. More recent related controversies regarding animal abilities include the closely linked areas of Theory of mind, Imitation (e.g. Nehaniv & Dautenhahn, 2002), Animal Culture (e.g. Rendell & Whitehead, 2001), and Language Evolution (e.g. Christiansen & Kirby, 2003).

Related Post:


Post a Comment

Anda berminat buat Buku Tamu seperti ini?
Klik disini