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Autor: anton • September 15, 2010 • 855 Words (4 Pages) • 701 Views
It is amazing to look back at our history to see how mankind has developed and evolved. One of the remarkable moments in history was the cognitive achievement known as language. This ability to communicate with others would open the door to human expression and comprehension. Language is a topic that encompasses all of the cognitive processes. Although languages do share an important blueprint feature, the most fundamental design feature of language is productivity. Without language mankind as we know it would not exist. Because we have the power of language we are able to communicate with one another to develop and create. But what is even more amazing about language is its versatility to act as a form of communication we would otherwise be without. The ability to communicate is vital to all forms of species, be it humans or animals, some are able to better communicate then others. But no species has been able to surpass the accuracy and flexibility that distinguishes human communication, an ability due in great part to our ability to use language.
All languages began as some form of speech, but slowly progressed into a written system as well. Language is defined as a set of symbols and rules for the combination of these symbols that allow for communication and comprehension among individuals. Language is unique in that everything that we refer to is symbolized in a word. But clearly language doesn't simply consist of all the words we know put into one big group. For every word we use there is a rule that governs how it can be combined with another word. These rules, or grammar, are usually used to describe the arrangement of words in sentences, but it is actually a more specific term referring to the rules for combining any unit of language, word, sentence, or sound. But, language is much more then a group of sounds or markings on paper. The sounds and symbols that others make mean something. This part of language is called semanticity, which means that the symbols of language refer to important parts of our world.
One big debate that has been fueled for years is whether or not animals (non-human species) are able to communicate. The answer, yes animals (non-human species) can communicate, but yet another question arises, can we consider this form of communication to be language? The answer is surprising; some species (i.e. seals, dolphins, parrots, and chimpanzees) are actually capable of using symbols to refer to concepts. In the study of Kanzi, a Bonobo, who was separated from his mother, showed great ability to lean and manipulate lexigraphic symbols. He learned through continuous interaction and swapping with his caregivers about the events and routines of each day. Additionally, Kanzi's caregivers used informal gestures and a small amount of ASL (American Sign Language). Over the course of the research project, Kanzi was reported to have made over 13,000 utterances over a 4 month period. It is not only clear that Kanzi could make a distinction between types of words, but he was also able to place these types in the appropriate slots of an utterance. What