Animal Talk

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

It's clear that animals have their own, simple ways of communicating: pheromones, mating calls, body language, to name a few. But can they communicate using human language? Sure, pets and show animals can be trained using verbal commands, but do they really understand what is being said? One remarkable example of human-animal communication is Alex, an African Gray Parrot.

Alex was able to count and identify colors, shapes, and sizes of objects. He was able to ask for certain foods and even made up a word for apples, "banerry," because they taste like bananas but look like cherries. By the time he died, Alex could speak almost one hundred human words.

What is striking about Alex is not that he was physically capable of forming words or that he had the ability to memorize them, but that he was cognitively capable of using words to communicate desires, solve simple logic problems, and answer questions. This last point is especially extraordinary, because answering a question requires one to actually understand what is being said. Looking at Alex and many other examples, humans may not be the only ones capable of using language as we once thought.

Morell, Virginia. "Animal Minds." National Geographic Mar. 2008. National Geographic. National Geographic Society. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. .

5 Comments

| Leave a comment

It is very interesting that some birds can talk with people, such as parrots or mynas. I think they can know human language because they are hearing and studying while human are talking. It may be potential or intentional. In addition, people teach birds how to talk every day. I think it will be more common in the future.

Gorillas are another animal that are able to understand human languages. One gorilla in particular was named Koko, and she was able to understand sign language to communicate with humans. Just like Alex the parrot, Koko is able to solve problems and answer questions. I find this behavior to be very fascinating, knowing that there are animals that are able to understand human languages.

This bird is very fun and amazing. Maybe it didn't realize what the really meaning of the human language it study,it can still pronounce the language. Training animal to talk is a difficult things. But I think it will become more and more popular to train birds or other animals talk.

I remember hearing about such a bird a while back, but it was not until now that I realize how magnificent Alex was. Although there are many who are skeptical about the particular bird's abilities, I think that he had to have had a degree of great intelligence to comprehend and understand questions that were asked of him. It makes me think of the future possibilities for animals and their growing knowledge. All species are constantly evolving according to our history and time here on Earth, I think that time will only be able to tell what abilities will be gained.

This is so very astounding because the complexity of the english language is being performed by a bird. Along with the given example above, KoKo the signing gorilla, this parrot holds the ability to do more then just provide a "conditioned" response to questions and it is fascinating. I really don't have anything to say to this but question the complexities of the human brain and the language we perceive. Are we, as humans, not as intelligent as we assume or are animals a bit more intelligent then what we assume? Very intriguing and fun post.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by degro050 published on February 29, 2012 7:21 PM.

How Reliable are Flashbulb Memories? was the previous entry in this blog.

Bilingualism- Advantageous or no? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.