Animal Language Research Paper

622 Words3 Pages
For many years, there have been a lot of controversy about whether animals are capable of understanding and using human language. Language is audible and meaningful sound produced by the vocal organs or gestures as a way to communicate. After going over reaction piece number three, I realized that animals were capable of understanding language. For sometime now, I assumed that animals, learning languages were a hoax, but after looking at various studies conducted, it is obvious that they are capable of learning language, but not able to speak it.
According to Charles F. Hockett, human language is extremely difficult for most animals to learn because of their vocal organ structure. For many animals, they cannot produce a large proportion of vowel sounds and would have some difficulty producing some consonants because of not only the shapes of their vocal organs, but also due to the limitations of their motor center in the brain that control those vocal organs (Hockett, 1960). Species such as gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos go through a language production training that involves the use of the hands or through the use of symbol
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Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, she found that animals are able to communicate through her experience with a baby bonobo named Kanzi. As an infant, Kanzi had the ability to pick up language after observing his mother Matata being trained. After years of picking up the language, Dr. Savage-Rumbaugh and her colleagues decided if Matata was not able to grasp the concept of language, why not teach Kanzi? To aid him in learning language, researchers added various symbols to his learning board to enhance his chances of learning new words (Wynne, 2007). As the time went on, Kanzi went from knowing 6 symbols to knowing 348 symbols. The symbols that were provided to him referred to random objects such as a key, a bowl, and various activities such as running and playing that he he learned on his
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