communication is so complex, Slobodchikoff says — so expressive and
rich in information — that it constitutes nothing less than language.
would be an audacious claim to make about even the most overtly
intelligent species — say, a chimpanzee or a dolphin — let alone some
kind of dirt hamster with a brain that barely weighs more than a grape.
The majority of linguists and animal-communication experts maintain that
language is restricted to a single species: ourselves.
it is so ostensibly entwined with thought, with consciousness and our
sense of self, language is the last bastion encircling human
To concede that we share language with other species is
to finally and fully admit that we are different from other animals only
in degrees not in kind. In many people’s minds, language is the
“cardinal distinction between man and animal, a sheerly dividing line as
abrupt and immovable as a cliff,” as Tom Wolfe argues in his book “The
Kingdom of Speech,” published last year…