The world of animal language displayed at 40% of viewport width
January 2019 by V. R. Duin


In the hot and balmy tropical weather.
Spanish and English came together.
Molly caught sight of her brother, Jim,
And excitedly called out to him.

Dolly the Parrot, a bilingual parrot, shows how to understand animal language and the animal language learning process to help human language learning and complex communications.

Few animals speak with meaning. Parrots are among these select few. Training a parrot to speak is stimulating for the bird and rewarding for the trainer. Their level of articulation is unrivaled in the animal kingdom.

Some animals recognize command variations. For instance, a dog may understand and respond appropriately to “come” and “here” and answer to hand commands without auditory cues.

Imagine the possibilities if humans could comprehend animal language. This knowledge might improve the human language learning abilities of people. It may enhance the educational potential of disabled individuals.

People learn from animals. They are good judges of character and recognize medical symptoms. They lead to healthy relationships with other animal lovers. They teach awareness, compassion, discipline and patience.

Animal senses are put to work by humans. Their keen sense of hearing delivers advance warnings. Their scent-tracking ability guides search and rescue operations and signals pending storms. They act as eyes for the blind.

Mammals appreciate closeness and companionship. They develop feelings, emotions and bonds. Mammals have common gestures, movements, facial expressions, sounds and unspoken exchanges to guide understanding.

People are mammals. Dolphins appear to use names with each other. The names manifest as different whistles. The learning process of these mammals may be similar to the methods used by people in speech development.

Animal warnings are widely respected. People and other species respond to screeching squirrels or dive-bombing birds with departure. The movements and sounds of one species alert others to band together or scatter for safety.

Animals seem to communicate with species of their kind. These intercommunications are easier to describe than decipher. Words for animal sounds include: barks, buzzes, chirps, clucks, growls, purrs and squawks.

Animals are complete without acquisition of extensive human vocabularies. They are adept at interpreting plans, habits and emotions. They recognize a leash as walk time. An open refrigerator or cabinet means food.

Tone and pitch of voice are of great importance. Accents also aid human language development. Kids learn questions go up at the end. “Going to the store?” Facts are flat. “Going to the store.” Loudness may reflect anger.

People rarely attempt to learn to speak an animal language. It seems easier to teach auditory learners to follow specific, vocal commands. People are challenged to duplicate the sounds or replicate the signals of animals.

Training improves relations. It establishes communications and gives direction. It inspires, motivates and rewards good behaviors. It reduces mistakes and unhealthy behaviors. It creates a balanced sense of teamwork.

Animal communications meet needs. A study published in the University of Washington news on June 23, 2005 established that Chickadees' Alarm-Calls Carry Information about the Size Threat of Predator.

Animals seem to understand other species. Scientists are studying animal signs and signals, such as lizard push-ups and head-bobs. The goal is to understand the extent of intelligence or messaging beyond sound.

Parrots comprehend what people are saying. Talking birds may illuminate patterns of speech imitation. We mentioned Alex, the African Gray, in Bird Brains. Parrots and people share the rare genetic trait of vocal learning.

Some animals can communicate in sign language. The death of Koko the Gorilla on June 19, 2018 was a sad loss. Francine “Penny” Patterson documented Koko's ability to correlate signs with words.

Only humans are capable of some advances. They publish, market, promote and sell inventions. They store, exchange and develop information. People develop unique creative, mathematical and technological systems.

Animals are smart and inventive. Animal communications seem to be limited. They work alone or as teams to find and store food. They generally combine resources for purposes involving reproduction, safety and shelter.

Machines are used to translate between written human languages. This makes it possible for people to use other languages without learning them. The language learning process of machines is advanced.

Machines make predictions based on past experiences with data. They detect sounds for security purposes. They keep watch over prisons, health facilities, homes, offices and schools. They evaluate patterns to solve crimes.

Machines are deeply programmed for search, indexing, retrieval and voice recognition. Machines are able to gather, file and recall the building blocks of language intelligence. Humans gain knowledge for extrapolation.

Machines may become capable of converting animal sounds into human words. The sound recognition and simulation capacity of machines is highly evolved and more accurate than that of humans or other vertebrates.

People may be smarter than machines. A computer is more functional with data processing. The original real-world signals can be text, sound or video in nature. The data is entered, manipulated and validated by humans.

Translation involves written words, symbols, signs and marks. Interpretation involves cross-language vocal exchanges. Constantine Slobodchikoff spent decades decoding prairie dog dialects between countries.

Machines are fast and cheap. They can create artificial sounds that trick humans into believing they are real. Humans may be challenged to mimic animal sounds. Network linkage has quality, quantity and cost implications.

Machines require human operators to complete tasks. Humans are needed for judgment calls as to context and precise meaning. They can differentiate small details in meaning. Machines are expedient with repetitive tasks.

Machines eventually may decipher distinctive, meaningful animal expressions. Cats may sound like a crying baby, a screaming adult or a chattering bird. Machines may be used to build a data base of these sounds.

Human languages have been deeply analyzed. Artificial intelligence is used in collection, interpretation and generation of animal sounds. However, the framework is not fully developed, integrated or user-friendly.

The study of gene markers and brain structures is only beginning. The purpose of animal communications is not clear to humans. Is there an animal language or do they simply use a system of signaling?

Leading dolphin scientists are in dispute. Animal socialization may not have evolved into complex languages. There are units of communication, per Stan Kuczaj. There are there none, per Justin Gregg.

Animals seem capable of appreciating and imparting emotions. Animals feel anxiety, pain, joy and sorrow. Animals may show guilt after eating homework. Animals display consciousness without vocalization.

Machines may bridge the communication gap between humans and animals. Humans with animal awareness skills find rewarding career opportunities in veterinary health and wildlife management professions.

Animal language translation applications are available. According to Edward Vajda, some Animal Systems of Communication may remain unintelligible in the future. The animal language learning process evades us.