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Most living creatures communicate in some way Birds and whales sing monkeys and chimpanzees chatter dolphins click and squeak even bees perform their elaborate waggle dance Language however involves arranging exact sounds in the correct grammatical order to convey a message Sternberg 1995 p345 defines human language as an organised means of combining words in order to communicate Clearly human language is much much more than arranging particular sounds It is an outlet for our thoughts and desires it allows us to convey our feelings our hopes and dreams we can even use language to deceive others or tell jokes In fact it is this complexity of human language that prompts researcher Sternberg to argue that language is solely a human ability He comments Parrots may say certain words but they are not really using language What they say is not organised and does not involve combining words to pass a message to others Sternberg 1995 p345 So can it be assumed then that animals do not possess this quality Research conducted by Savage-Rumbaugh 1986 with bonobo monkeys may suggest otherwise and behaviourists such as Skinner 1957 would argue that language is learnt as a process of re-inforcement and therefore as a result there is nothing special about language and thus no reason why language should not be learnt by other species Eysenck 2000 p245 Nativist Chomsky believing language to be an innate human ability disagrees If an animal had a capacity as biologically advantageous as language but somehow hadnt used it until now it would be an evolutionary miracle like finding an island of humans who could be taught to fly Chomsky 1993 p249 To appreciate how this unique quality makes humans distinctive from other animals it would be prudent to consider the criteria that categorises human language Physically speaking humans require a certain anatomy in order to create speech The larynx is situated further down the throat which
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