Human and Animal Language Differences


Communication is an important aspect of human and animal life because it helps individuals to move away from, express their emotions, and keep in touch with others. People communicate differently from animals, and this forms a major difference between these two groups of living things (Miller 1981). This essay presents the differences between human and animal communication.

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People and animals have various ways of communication, and this ensures they bond and identify their members and the needs of each individual. Communication is the use of words, symbols, and signs to pass messages from an individual to another (Plec 2012). The variations present in human and animal communication may be determined by geographical and biological factors, but it is necessary to explain that most communications amongst individuals of the same species are similar.

First, animals communicate through instinct, and this means that they do not control this activity (Crane, Yeager, and Whitman, 1981). For instance, monkeys chatter and screech when they are happy or afraid, respectively. People learn and acquire communication skills from other members of society. Animals are born with the ability to communicate, and this cannot be influenced by their surrounding. However, the language used by humans to communicate is determined by the culture and society of an individual. This has lead to the presence of differences in languages and meanings of words (Widdowson 1996).

Secondly, human communication plays various roles in their relationships, unlike in animals where they communicate to express anger, shock, or seek assistance from their owners (Smith 2008). Human communication intends to seek answers, explanations, develop or strengthen relationships, and inform others about events in their surroundings. Animal communication is simple and aims at expressing ordinary issues like seeking the company of others. Widdowson argues that bees flap their wings and produce the buzz sound even when they are asleep to protect their territories from intruders (Widdowson 1996). Human communication takes different forms, including speeches, debates, and arguments.

Thirdly, human language is very complicated and has different forms depending on the individual and context of communication (Miller 1981). It is possible to extend and modify the human language, and this means that people can change the skills, symbols, and techniques used to pass information from one person to another. However, animal language is static and will never develop due to its nature. Human language evolves, and some phrases, words, and expressions can be modified or dropped by individuals. On the other hand, Smith argues that animals maintain the same language their ancestors used to communicate; for example, the use of body language by dogs, cats, monkeys, and other domestic and wild animals shows their identities and emotions (Smith 2008).

Lastly, the effectiveness of human language is determined by various factors, including the age of individuals, grammar, and other tenets that affect the quality of information passed from one person to another (Plec 2012). People must know how to use different vocabularies and apply them incorrectly contexts to ensure their messages are understood by their audiences. On the other hand, this is not possible in animals because of the absence of rules that guide communication amongst members of similar or different species.

It is necessary to explain that the use of words, phrases, and symbols in human communication affects the meaning of a message, and thus people pay attention to these issues to ensure their messages are not misunderstood (Crane, Yeager, and Whitman 1981). Westernization influences language and its usage amongst humans. On the contrary, animal communication cannot be influenced by natural or human factors because of the absence of rules that guide its usage; for instance, bees buzz the same way regardless of their ages or locations (Widdowson 1996).

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Human communication is complicated because it can be influenced by an individual. In addition, it plays different roles in shaping the relations of people in society. The use of grammar and other rules that guide human communication differentiates it from the languages used by animals. Animal language is static, has few purposes, lacks form, and does not have guidelines that determine the effectiveness of communication amongst members.


Crane, B. L., Yeager, E. and Whitman, R. L. (1981). An Introduction to Linguistics. New York: Little Brown and Company. Web.

Miller, G. A. (1981). Language and Speech. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company. Web.

Plec, E. (2012). Perspectives on Human-Animal Communication: Inter-Natural Communication. London: Routledge. Web.

Smith, P. (2008). Animal Talk: Interspecies Telepathic Communication. New York: Atria Books. Web.

Widdowson, H. G. (1996). Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Web.

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