Qualitative or Quantitative?
Communication is an ongoing process that occurs everywhere in the world. A student listening to his professor’s lecture. An office worker conversing with his colleagues. A man training his dog to stop barking at the neighbor. A bee stinging a girl after she steps on it’s hive. All of these instances involve various types of communication, whether they are verbal or non-verbal, human or non-human. The nine major similarities found in all communication systems are mode of communication, semanticity, pragmatic function, interchangeability, cultural transmission, arbitrariness, discreteness, displacement, and productivity. These play a major role in determining whether or not human language and animal communication are qualitatively or quantitatively different.
One reason why human communication qualitatively differs from animal communication is found in continuing studies of spiders, crabs, birds, and bees. In all instances where there are evidence of many of the nine similarities previously mentioned, all of the observations lacked one thing. There was an absence of creativity, meaning that the communication, in whatever context, was confined to a single subject. For example, the “signaling” communication system possessed by the mating ritual of spiders was only confined to the same elaborate gestures. It is the creativity of the human language that makes its communication so unique.
Another reason as to why human communication varies qualitatively to the animal is evident because of primate studies. Years of teaching and training a chimp the English language, as Keith and Cathy Hayes did in the 1950s, gave only an outcome of three learned words: cup, mama, and papa. By the end of this experiment, the chimp failed to show reasoning and prove critical, creative thinking with those words. This is an insufficient amount of evidence to support animal communication being quantitatively related to human communication....