Do Animals Use Some Properties of Human Language Essay
This essay will discuss whether six of Hockett’s design features, which are properties of language, are exclusively human or can they be found in other creatures communications. For each of the features, the communication of wild apes, trained apes and humans will be compared. This will not be based solely on vocal communication, but explore the research into signing and ‘pointing’ apes (apes using symbols on a keyboard, Aitchison, 2008). The first reason to discuss this, is because human language is not restricted to vocal communication: we can use sign language and the written word. The second …show more content…
The third feature, non-directionality, is where a signal or a call is produced to one intended receiver but anyone within earshot would hear the sound or call. This is found in both humans and apes, but this does not apply to the signing or pointing chimps. When a chimp (or human) signs, the receiver or receivers would have to be looking straight at them, this is especially true for the pointers. For example Lana (a female chimp) wrote “YOU GIVE COKE TO LANA” (Aitchison, 2008, p45) and only the people viewing the screen were able to receive the message.
The forth feature, rapid fade, is when a signal or call is produced and the sound dissipates quickly. Obviously vocal