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Will animals ever learn how to speak?

Will animals ever learn how to speak our language?
Lucy Telfer from Derbyshire (age 5-14)

Can any animals speak apart from parrots?
Alison from Cumbria (Age: 5-14)

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One Response

  1. Will we one day be able to talk to the animals like Doctor Doolittle?
    Will they be able to talk back?
    It’s a great question! Here are some ideas.

    Humans are animals and we speak our own different human language(s) all over the world.
    Many other animals have their own languages and we partly understand what they mean.

    Can other animals understand us humans?
    There are many types of language – body language and facial expressions, pictures, touch (Braille), sign language, and smell. Other animals often recognise their own or our version of these languages.

    The tone, volume and emotion in your voice like anger or kindness is often recognised by young children and other animals before they understand what the word means. NO! For example. This is partly how you train an animal to understand what you say or want it to do.

    Some animals have even learnt sign or shape language such as parrots and some great apes.

    Some animals respond only to spoken commands in one language. Famously when some zoo elephants from Germany were moving to Britain, it was discovered have been found to respond only to German words / sounds, so their new keepers had to learn German!

    Will animals be able to speak our language?
    It depends if animals think or understand things like humans do. The big difference are (Broca’s and Wernicke’s) areas of the human brain that other animals do not have so well developed (if at all), even though they have vocal chords to make sounds. Woof, grunt, etc.

    Based on this discovery, we also don’t know what animals like dinosaurs sounded like or how early humans spoke either or what sort of language they would have been used.

    Mark Norris (and other animals)
    Newquay Zoo

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