Vocal communication for chimpanzees, our closest relatives on the evolutionary tree, consists of a few simple signals.
Vocal communication for chimpanzees, our closest relatives on the evolutionary tree, consists of a few simple signals. By contrast, human language has many thousands of words that can be combined into an infinite number of sentences.
Broad University of Maryland expertise on the gap between these two—how human language developed from a limited set of vocal actions to the incredibly complex systems of meaning we use today—is strongly featured in a new special edition of the august British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
The issue, “What Can Animal Communication Teach Us About Human Language?” includes contributions from five researchers in the colleges of Arts and Humanities (ARHU); Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS); and Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS); from disciplines including biology, psychology, neuroscience and linguistics.
One of the UMD authors, BSOS Dean Gregory F. Ball, said scholars from the various disciplines have been laying a foundation for new thinking and research on the topic both in the U.S. and globally, after a global surge of interest in the 1970s had abated.
Continue reading at University of Maryland.
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