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Speech - Evolution Of Speech, The Physiology Of Speech, The Brain, Speech Impediments

sounds words symbols animals

Speech is defined as the ability to convey thoughts, ideas, or other information by means of articulating sound into meaningful words.

Many animals can make sounds and some can tailor these sounds to a given occasion. They may sound an alarm that a predator is in the area, warning others of their species that something has trespassed into their territory. Animals may make soothing sounds to let offspring know that their parent is present. These are only sounds of varying pitch or volume and do not constitute speech. Some animals, notably birds, can copy human speech to a minor extent and repeat words that they have been taught. This may be speech but limited control of vocal cords and a lack of flexible lips restricts the sounds that birds can imitate.

Some great apes such as the gorilla have been taught speech via sign language. They do not have the ability to form words because their larynx is not constructed to allow them to form certain sounds necessary for human speech. Some researchers have worked diligently to teach an ape to sign with its hands, to point to symbols in a board, or arrange marked blocks to form a thought, however incomplete. Thus, a gorilla can indicate that he or she wants an orange, wants to rest, or is cold but cannot communicate outside of these limited signs. A gorilla certainly cannot speak. One chimpanzee learned to sign more than 100 words and to put two or three symbols together to ask for something, but she was never able to place symbols together to express an idea.

Speech is unique to the human species. It is a means by which a people's history can be handed down from one generation to the next. It enables one person to convey knowledge to a roomful of other people. It can be used to amuse, to rouse, to anger, to express sadness, to communicate needs that arise between two or more humans.


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over 4 years ago

excuse me but you are actually quite incorrect. a gorilla named koko is fluent in a variation of american sign language. and there is a project called the great ape trust where bonobos- a docile subspecies of chimpanzee- are learning and using over 300 lexigram symbols and understand navel sentences in spoken language. the most advanced bonobo name kanzi has a son being raise even more human than ever, his name is teco and he two years old. he is the third generation of bonobo raised at the great ape trust. i will send you links of theses fellow great apes too show you, its really amazing.

Koko- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDGQySZ1gbs

Kanzi- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Dhc2zePJFE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRM7vTrIIis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxmbjLoUnhk&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zsSH9UUQtQ

Teco- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4frWWPuvmWE

Panbanisha- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EZofdBBqhk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK1-KL6sq_Y
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_iPZm8kXyg