Free Pet Classifieds at Petmanacs.com

Pets Articles Complete List of Pet Articles @ PetManiacs.com | Home

Talk to the Animals? Yes! And Whats More, They Talk to Us!


Talk to the animals?

Yes.

And what's more, they talk to us!

If you've ever shared your life with animals, you'll know that they understand most of what you say to them. You mention that you're going for a walk and the dog is standing at the gate, ready. You say that you're going visiting and that dogs aren't invited and you find out where the expression 'hang-dog look' came from -- the ears droop, the head sinks and Pooch drags himself off to sulk.

It's dinner time, you tell the cat that she's got fish for tea and you're overwhelmed with affection; you tell her that tonight's the night she has a tin of cat food and watch her turn her back and ignore you.

So, we know that they know what we're saying, but are we clever enough to understand what they are saying to us?

A cat has a very large vocabulary -- every syllable in miaow can be lengthened, shortened, used alone or in combination with one or more of the others; it can be loud or barely audible; it can be confident, angry, intimate or pitiful, depending on what the cat is trying to tell us.

HOW ANIMALS TEACH US TO UNDERSTAND THEIR LANGUAGE

Cats teach us how to understand them in much the same way we teach babies to understand their language. Every human baby makes the same pre-speech sounds; the gurgles, clucks, hums and bubbles are common to every society. When we hear a sound that is similar to a word used in our language, we repeat it to the baby and then make a great fuss when the baby repeats it to us, and so each child learns the language of its own society.

When your cat wants to go outside, she will try a series of different sounds until you learn to recognise one of them, then she will always use that particular sound to tell you she wants to go out. So, a short m'ia means "I'd like to go outside;" a loud m'ia means "I'd like to go outside NOW;" a long miiaoowww means she can't find you; a pitiful little m'ow means she's cold and she'd like a cuddle.

She will patiently teach you her 'words' until she feels confident that you can meet all her needs. (The poster that states "dogs have masters; cats have staff" has a great deal of truth in it!)

BODY LANGUAGE

Animals use body language and signals, as well as sounds, to communicate. Just watch a child who's been in trouble go to the family dog for comfort. Pooch sits quietly, gazing into the child's eyes, his face a picture of concern and sympathy. He doesn't have to say anything, he just presses gently against the child and offers moral support by simply being there.

HOW WE TEACH ANIMALS TO UNDERSTAND OUR LANGUAGE

Since we can be taught to understand animals, researchers have tried to teach animals how to understand our language, too.

Research into the language capabilities of primates at Georgia State University, Atlanta began in 1971 when the Lana fund was set up "to produce a language analog of human language in non-human primates" and was linked to finding different ways to teach language to children with disabilities.

The first experiments centred around Lana, a female chimp born in October 1970 (and named after the project - LANguage) and were simple tasks that resulted in food being released when certain keys on the computer-based keyboard were pressed.

However, Lana soon began to string together stock sentences into meaningful and new sentences of her own creation, such as "You give Lana banana which is black?" when asking for an overly ripe banana.

According to University records, "Lana was the first ape to demonstrate that chimpanzees could form syntactically adequate sentences, the first to show that they were capable of recognizing written symbols, and the first to demonstrate that they could read. She could take partially completed sentences, read them and complete them appropriately."

Recent research, conducted by Georgia State University Psychology Professor, Duane Rumbaugh, Ph.D., of the Language Research Centre, shows that when reared in the proper environment, chimpanzees and bonobos are as capable of understanding questions and simple sentences as a two-and-a-half year old child.

KANZI

Kanzi, a bonobo ape, and his foster mother, Matata, arrived at the LRC when Kanzi was 6 months of age. He accompanied his mother during her daily lexigram training tasks and spent most of his time ignoring them or trying to disrupt them in any way he could. Like any youngster, he liked the lights on the keyboard and often tried to chase the symbols as they appeared on the projectors above the keyboard.

When Kanzi was 2 1/2 years old, Matata was sent back to breed and Kanzi was separated from her for the first time. After fretting for her for three days, Kanzi then settled and began to play with the keyboard. Lab notes record that he, "correctly employ(ed) nearly all of the 10 lexigrams that were on his mother's keyboard at that time. He didn't need to be taught these lexigrams, as he already knew them.

"Prior to the separation, however, Kanzi had given no evidence that he had even been attending to them, much less that he understood any sort of semantic connection between lexigrams and objects in his world. Even more striking than the fact that Kanzi knew the lexigrams, was the fact that he also knew the spoken English words which the lexigrams represented. He couldn't speak the words, but when he heard them, he could locate the lexigram, or printed symbol, that corresponded with the word."

One of the most fascinating aspects of all this was that Kanzi had learnt to understand the lexigrams simply by being exposed to their use. From that point, all reward-based learning was discarded in favour of letting Kanzi learn through conversation.

He was given plenty of help to learn with gestures, with pictures, with video tape and with activities that showed the words in action. Most of the conversations centered around travel, finding food and playing and his vocabulary steadily increased until today he can use over 200 words and can understand more than 500.

SIGN LANGUAGE

After observing how chimpanzees communicated in the wild using signals, psychologists, Beatrice and Robert Gardner conducted a series of experiments in the 1960s, to teach young chimps Ameslan, the American sign language where each gesture represents a word, rather than a syllable or sound.

The young female chimps learnt hundreds of words and were even able to use these words to invent their own phrases to suit different situations. One chimp, Lucy, was given her first taste of a hot radish and signed that it was, "... cry hurt food."

Hearing impaired people who observed the chimps were able to understand them without difficulty and the Gardners were hopeful of being able to extend their communication with the chimps.

THE LAST WORD

However, funding for the project gradually dried up and the chimps were sold for medical research.

Shortly before the facility closed down, two handlers who had worked on the project made one last visit. They signed to the chimps, "What do you want?"

One after another, the chimps signed back, "Key."

The danger in learning to understand what animals have to say is that we may not like what we hear.

Jennifer Stewart has a degree in English and History and taught senior High School for over twenty years. During that time, she was Head of Department, responsible for devising and implementing teaching programs, and for supervising young teachers. After leaving full-time teaching, she wrote (and now markets) writing courses for students and adults who want to improve their writing skills. Visit her website at http://www.write101.com and subscribe to free, weekly Writing Tips: mailto:WritingTips-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Jennifer also offers professional writing services - copy writing, editing and proof reading for your web pages, press releases, technical booklets, newsletters, business proposals, reports or any other writing projects.


MORE RESOURCES:
RELATED ARTICLES
Westies Dogs and Your Children
Almost without exception, breeders will advertise that their favorite terrier, westies dogs, are good with children. However, terrier enthusiasts, and westie rescue organizations, tell a different story.
Holistic Pet Care?From a Distinctly Christian Perspective
As a business, I've not been in the holistic pet care industry long. As a pet owner and pet care worker, it has been a very long journey.
Small Dogs - Different Breeds, Different Personalities
Small dog breeds are great pets, but since their personalities are all different, it's a good idea to look at their individual characteristics to see if they fit with your lifestyle.Pomeranians:Pomeranians developed from a much larger dog breed and seem to have retained the mellow character.
Maintaining your Fish Bowls
Maintaining your fish bowl can be difficult sometimes. However, your fish bowl should be kept as hygienic as possible.
You Must Train Your Dog From A Young Age
The best thing to do is to start training your new puppy as soon as you get him home. You need to teach your puppy your rules, and how you expect him to behave starting from a very early age.
The Wonderful Siamese Cat
This mysterious cat is originally from the country of Siam, now known as Thailand. Siamese cats were highly esteemed by generations of Siamese monarchs,even to the extent that they resided in the royal palace.
Surprising Health Benefits for Pet Owners
Did you know that there are key health benefits that canresult from owning a pet? Having one can enhance yourphysical, mental and social wellbeing.1.
Tank Requirements For Discus Fish
For Discus fish, there are 2 consideration in tanks - tank depth and volume. Because of their size and swimming habits, a minimum of 18" is needed for tank depth, the deeper the better.
Apistogramma , Dwarf Cichlids in the Aquarium
The real apistogramma's come from southern America, they all have the same characteristics, like a complex breeding behavior, as their large relatives, only their size is different. Besides the apistogramma group there are also some relatively popular dwarf cichlids from Africa, like the Pelvicachromis group.
Understanding Psychology Of Dog Training: Pack Behavior & Establishing Control
Dogs are descendent of wolves. To study the psychology of dog training and understand the pack hierarchal system of dogs, we must go back and examine their ancestor - wolves.
Why Should We Get Kittens as Pets?
Kittens are and have always been adorable creatures. Of course, these youngsters are also playful, naughty and mischievous as well.
Tips on Choosing a Boxer Dog...
An easier and more pleasant journey with your chosen Boxer starts with checking out the parent dogs for unbecoming traits like aggression, hyperactive and extreme shyness.This is easier to do when you get your Boxer from a reputable breeder or from a pet shop that get their animals only from known breeders.
A Healthy Cat Knows What Tastes Good...
As all cat owners know, a feline can be a wonderful addition to any family. One of the most basic aspects of cat ownership is proper health care for the cat.
How to Care for Your Kitten
Caring for a kitten is a lot of work. With her high energy and intense curiosity and sense of adventure, raising a kitten will keep you on your toes.
House Rabbits are Fun and Cute Pets
House rabbits are a perfect pet for many people, regardless of whether they live on a farm or in an apartment. House rabbits are small, easy to take care of, and don't require any expensive supplies like some other pets do.
How To Determine The Sex of Discus Fish
One of the biggest question asked of the discus breeder is "how do I determine the sex of my fish?" There are very few easy identifiable identifiers in this process. Here, we will discuss the methods used by some of the top breeders.
Grieving Our Pets Death
Our pets give us so much. They entertain us, listen to our secrets, and give us unconditional love.
Using Dog Leash Training to Control Your Pooch
Many pet owners don't like using a leash, for a wide variety of reasons: "My dog stays right next to me." "He pulls the leash too much.
Training Your Dog
Training your dog can be time consuming and frustrating at times, but it's well worth it. Here are several tips that should help things go much smoother and faster.
Positive Dog Training Methods
Dog training can provide a tremendous amount of satisfaction. Every dog should know at least the basics for living with people: come, sit, stay, don't jump up on people, and so on.



PetManiacs.com's Free! Pet Classified Ads
Click here to Post your ads | View by Location | View by Subject
Click here to Post your ads | View by Location | View by Subject


Pet Website Owners Wanted





Pet Maniacs home | site map | Pet Article List
© 2013