Language and society.

April 2024 Forums General discussion Language and society.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 58 total)
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  • #250599
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Talking with Animals https://g.co/kgs/iiWBnJn

    Charlotte Uhlenbroek.

    #250600
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Del.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Thomas_More.
    #250601
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Del.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Thomas_More.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Thomas_More.
    #250605
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    “ The fact that you mention speech and voice box only confirms that you are interpreting the word language only in terms of the verbal.”

    So why then did I use the term “verbal” language??

    Given that BSL is the second most commonly used language (which I have a small but useful knowledge of), it would be a silly thing to say.

    The problem is that you have conflated language with communication. A punch in the throat may well communicate feelings, it’s not necessarily a language.

    To reduce that further, if we replace the word language with the word communication, then basically what you are saying is:

    “All social animals use communication”, which is fairly obvious, because if they didn’t they wouldn’t be bloody social, would they?

    #250606
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    So you are cleverer in zoology than the scientists whose reviews i have provided links to, are you? Like Marc Bekoff, whose entire life has been spent studying nonhuman emotions and interactions.
    Woe betide anything should threaten your smug human centrality, or anyone suggest you read some science and familiarise yourself with anything new that challenges that centrality and “species uniqueness.”

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Thomas_More.
    #250607
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    Re Lizzie 45’s comment about the “C” word (welcome back from your journeys, by the way)

    “ Use of the word as a term of abuse is relatively recent, dating from the late 19th century. The word appears not to have been taboo in the Middle Ages, but became taboo towards the end of the 18th century, and was then not generally admissible in print until the latter part of the 20th century.

    Which just goes to show how language changes over time”

    The change of the view of the C word also resulted in the terms we use for rabbits. We used to refer to a rabbit as a coney (hence Coney Island). This sounded a bit like cunny, a derivative of the C word. So in polite society the term rabbit (previously generally used to refer to a baby coney), or bunny began to be used.

    Whilst I understand the offence taken by people by the use of the C word, the N word, etc. part of me agrees with Lenny Bruce “it’s the suppression of the word that gives it power”

    #250609
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Define the word language, including non-vocal body language. What divides body language from “mere” communication? And why is nonhuman communication not body language? Or does only your own species deserve the word?

    See Darwin, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and [other] Animals.

    The fact that you would separate language and communication shows that you only define language in its verbal, human-specific form. Then you allow communication as something other animals and machines (fire alarm) have in common, relegating the former to the status of the latter.
    Then, when challenged, you both squeak “That’s not what i said.”
    Then you bring up head lice and trees to bolster your prejudice and to make fun.
    All are typical ploys used again and again here on all threads where nonhuman animal intelligence is mentioned.
    Yes … Tells me a lot about you, comrades.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Thomas_More.
    #250612
    DJP
    Participant

    TM the good news for you is that the idea of “language” and “communication” as not wholly the same thing is entirely compatible with the possibility of their being non-human language users.

    The claims that only human beings could possess language, that language is only verbal, or that animals are no different from machines in no way logically follows from the claim that “language” is conceptually distinct from “communication”.

    #250613
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    So a nonhuman language user would be, in your estimation …?

    (And please don’t say an extraterrestrial).

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Thomas_More.
    #250617
    DJP
    Participant

    I’m no expert, but roughly speaking, you could say that a language is a set of logical rules that can be used to convey meanings through the manipulation of a series of symbols. Any being that uses something like that is a language user.

    I’ll leave it to you to come up with examples from the non-human animal kingdom. I guess you won’t like it if I use some extinct archaic human species as an example either.

    But the thing is, even if we say that most (or even all) non-human animals are not language users that doesn’t mean we are saying they are just objects to be used as we please. That’s an entirely different argument.

    #250623
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Ok. Thank you.

    Well, i would say prairie dogs. Bees. The fish mentioned in the article i linked to, who use different signs to convey a definite message, and all animals, both aquatic and terrestrial, that, like octopuses and squids, use colour changes and touch to convey emotions and closeness in the same way.
    And definite sign and vocal language accompanies mating, and death. Elephants, monkeys, lions, birds and insects mark death with “funerals”, and display ritual behaviour.
    Wolves too have a rich repertoire of sounds signifying different things. Lionesses hunting make use of a complex set of processes to isolate prey and manipulate it into their trap. Squids have acted in unison to destroy human traditional fishermen in small boats. The list goes on.
    The error is to compare between species. We do what we do; they do what they do.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Thomas_More.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Thomas_More.
    #250640
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    Now we have established that fellow animals also possess language, maybe we can get this thread back on track discussing language and society in general.

    #250641
    DJP
    Participant

    In the definition I gave, it’s the ‘manipulation of a series of symbols’ part that is important. I think the prairie dogs example you gave the link to is a good contender. An octopus changing colour according to its mood isn’t – it’s communicating something but not logically manipulating a series of symbols to do so.

    #250642
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    It manipulates too, to trap prey, and it conveys emotions to others, such as humans who deign to notice.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/animal-emotions/202308/octopuses-the-fascinating-lives-of-sensitive-clever-beings

    Octopus Communication Unveiled: Unlocking Their Secret Language

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Thomas_More.
    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Thomas_More.
    #250645
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    This need for you to separate language from communication is, regardless of your protestations, the narrowing by you of the definition of language to apply only to the human ape. I have provided links where the word language is used, by scientists, in reference to many species who use both vocal sounds and body language to share information, different types of information, etc. But you will never allow the use of the word in application to other species, although you say “maybe.”
    I put forward that the word is for speciesists (including kind-hearted paternalistic ones) such a bastion of human “uniqueness” that it must never be applied to other species lest we be “dethroned.”
    The policy has to be, in debate over nonhuman intelligence, societies and abilities, that it must be proven whether nonhuman animals “match up” to the human. This assumption, rooted in human society, judges all life by comparison to the human, who is (as a Socialist Standard article once called) “Nature’s supreme achievement.”
    Pyramidal, hierarchicalism writ large! (That article went on to say that, having produced us, this planet has nothing further of any interest to produce.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 58 total)
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