This image depicts the world with animals on top to show the scope of animal language, displayed at 40% of viewport width.
January 2019 by Terry Verduin

HOW TO UNDERSTAND ANIMAL LANGUAGE

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.


Discovering how to understand animal language and the animal language learning processes may help human language learning of complex communications.

Hat Trick? Scientists study animal signs, gestures and signals, such as lizard push-ups and head-bobs. Their goal is to understand the extent of intelligence, understanding and creativity beyond sound and between species.


Yottabyte? Despite available animal language translation applications, Edward Vajda, language professor at Western Washington University opines Animal Systems of Communication may remain unintelligible to people.


Basic Instinct? According to Professor Vajda, birds are born to produce imperfect versions of their natural sounds, even when separated from their species. Humans learn language by exposure. This ability is not inborn.


Going Places? Machines translate between human languages. This makes it possible for people to use other languages without learning them. The language learning process of machines has advanced beyond set responses.


Up to Par? Machines may bridge communication gaps between humans and animals. Humans with animal awareness skills already find rewarding career opportunities in veterinary health and wildlife management professions.


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


Solid State? Machines are deeply programmed for data search, indexing, retrieval and voice recognition. As they gather, file and recall the building blocks of language intelligence, humans gain knowledge for extrapolation.


Bucket List? Machines may become capable of converting animal sounds into human words. Machine sound recognition and simulation capacity are highly evolved and more accurate than those of humans or other vertebrates.


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


Fast and cheap? Machines can create artificial sounds that trick humans into believing they are real. Humans are challenged to mimic animal sounds. However, data linkage carries quality, quantity and cost implications.


Top Flight? Computers are highly functional with data processing. People seem smarter than machines. Original real-world signals of text, sound or video data must be entered, manipulated and validated by humans.


Sand Castles? Human operators complete automated tasks, make judgment calls as to context and differentiate small details to extrapolate precise meaning. Machines are expedient with repetitive tasks.

Complex Communications

Long Story? Animal evolution occurs more slowly than machine advancements. Human science may draw machines level with nature's predictive abilities. To develop genuine and sincere thought likely adds delay.


Red Alert? Animal warnings are respected. People and other animal species respond to screeching squirrels or dive-bombing birds. Movements and sounds of one species can alert others to band together or scatter for safety.


Game Face? Mammals appreciate close companionship. They develop feelings, emotions and bonds. Mammals use common gestures, movements, facial expressions, sounds and unspoken exchanges to guide understandings.


Raising Standards? Animals seem to appreciate and impart emotions. They feel anxiety, pain, joy and sorrow. A dog may show guilt after eating paperwork. Animals display a present consciousness without vocalization.


Close Look? Animals are complete without acquiring extensive human vocabularies. They are adept at interpreting plans, habits and moods. They recognize a leash as walk time. Open refrigerators or cabinets mean food.


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.


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


Loud and Proud? Parrots are among a select few animals able to speak with meaning. Training a parrot to speak stimulates the bird and rewards the trainer. Avian articulation potential is unrivaled in the animal kingdom.


Bright as a Feather? Parrots comprehend what people are saying. They may shed light on speech imitation. We cite Alex, the African Gray, in Bird Brains. Parrots and people share a special ability for vocal learning.


Errata? 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. The eventual goal is to decipher distinctive, meaningful animal expressions.


In Focus? Some animals 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 symbols with human-taught words.


Double Take? Some animals recognize command variations. For instance, a dog may understand and respond appropriately to “come” and “here” as well as answer to corresponding hand commands without spoken cues.


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

Help Human Language Learning

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


Partnership? Animal senses guide humans. They give vision to the blind. Keen hearing delivers warnings. Scent-tracking leads search and rescue. Barometric, electrical and mechanical sensitivity forecast storms.


Kick Back? People rarely attempt to learn 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.


Extension? Imagine the possibilities if humans could comprehend animal language. This might improve the human language learning abilities of people. It may enhance educational potential for all cognizant species.


Trial and Error? With Operant Conditioning animals learn to control the consequences resulting from behaviors. As it acts, or operates, in the environment, internal objectives drive future actions.


Pushed to Learn? With Behavioral Conditioning learning comes by associations to outside stimuli. Behavior adjusts with outside objects, or rewards. Reinforcement hastens desired responses under designed conditions.


Learn by Watching? With Observational Conditioning learning is stimulated by watching, then imitating others. Outside information sparks initiative to perform behaviors proven possible for others.


Pushing Limits? With Metabolic Conditioning physical performance improves with structured work and rest. Training exercises are performed to maximize a body's efficiency, strength, endurance and possibilities.


Nobody Knows? Do animals exercise to keep fit? Dr Lewis Halsey of Roehampton University raised this unstudied question in the Journal of Animal Ecology. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2016.

Animal Language Learning Processes

Party Line? Animals are smart and inventive, but their interactions seem limited. They work alone or as teams to find and store food. They combine resources for reproduction, safety and shelter purposes.


Sharp Note? Sound tone and pitch are important. 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.


Powerplay? A June 23, 2005 study published in University of Washington News determined Chickadees' Alarm-Calls Carry Information about the Size Threat of Predator. Animal communications seem geared to survival.


Some birds sound alike. Doves are mistaken for owls. There are rare reports of eagles feeding baby hawks (eyas) among their eaglets. Eagles eat hawks. Remorse may come when captured eyas sound like their own offspring.


Fringe Art? Some birds mimic other species of birds. African Gray Parrots, Blue Jays, American Crows and Australia's Lyrebird are celebrated mimics. Mimidae catbirds, thrashers and mockingbirds are classed for this ability.


Flight Calls? Migrating birds often vocalize while flying. In-flight sounds led to the flock name murmuration, which also defines low, continuous utterances. Sounds may encourage and orient participants in tight formation.


Wing Songs? Bird wings vibrate in air, creating rustling sounds. Scientists track birds in flight by these travel sounds. Remote acoustic recording technologies require no physical transmitter placement on animals.


Clean slate? Study of gene markers and brain structures is beginning. The purpose of animal communications is unclear to humans. Are there animal languages or mere signals triggered by outside stimulus or inside emotion?


Blurred Lines? Dolphin scientists dispute whether animal socialization have evolved into complex languages with repertoires of meanings. There are units of communication, per Stan Kuczaj. There are there none, per Justin Gregg.


Master Class? Only humans seem capable of infinite advances. They publish, market, promote and sell inventions. They store, exchange and develop unique creative, mathematical and technological information.


In the Fold? Human languages have been deeply analyzed. Artificial intelligence is used to collect, interpret and generate animal sounds. However, the framework is not fully developed, integrated or user-friendly.


Body Language? The video shows chickens entering shelter. It is a courtesy of the author's daughter. At dusk the flock assembles, signaling the end of outdoor safety. The sounds are clucking and come on in. (34 seconds)


BIRDS COMING IN FOR THE NIGHT