A Curious Discussion: Human vs. Animal

Given enough time, will animals develop languages? More importantly to the human, will these languages involve semantics?

Humans as a species have been shown to decompose the same symbol into multiple meanings, and also combine multiple symbols to create new meanings. Given that languages are specific, countable collections of symbols, the same langauge can also be understood as having multiple meanings. More importantly, people have the ability to create new meanings from the same language.

Formal language rules have been suggested to help in the construction of computing machines. Theoretical machines have the ability to recognize languages and even generate completely new languages. We can program a computer to mimic a human. And yet, we do not have a machine capable of recognizing the language of a dolphin, or an octopus.

Language is a difficult thing, merely by itself. The addition of meaning to symbols within a language further complicates the problem of recognition and response. Humans seem to have a rapidly expanding vocabulary compared to animals – they continuously add meaning to languages that are ever-growing.

It is interesting that we are inherently curious creatures, yet we can become dulled by everyday interactions with our environments. Do animals get bored of the same rising sun and laborious quest for food like humans become bored of television? Do formal structures suggest that people who are disinterested in the social system are simply not curious enough about their surroundings? Or does the formal structure of society lead people to become curious of all that does not fall into the language of societies?

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