The ability of humans to communicate through complex language is amazing, but in nature there are many types of language as well. Relating is one of the three main life functions, along with nurturing and replication.
The fact that, in biology, an organism that is not capable of relating to others cannot be considered a living being speaks for itself of the vital importance of the communicative act.. That is why today we are going to talk about the types of language that exist in nature and in human beings.
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Types of language in nature
In nature there are different forms of communication in which language is used. All living organisms have some degree of interaction among themselves, and the language that occurs in them is studied in zoosemiotics. This discipline bases its study on cellular and animal biological communication.
Thus, the study of the exchange of signals between animals of different species takes into account the different physical substrates through which communication is possible. The different living beings use different types of language that nature gives them to communicate with each other.The different possibilities exist thanks to the senses:
We will now take a look at the different types of language that exist in nature.
Chemical language can depend on both the sense of smell and the sense of taste.. Specific chemicals known as pheromones are transmitted and used as a form of language to communicate between individuals. Much depends on environmental conditions, especially air currents, so that they can have more or less reach.
An example of living beings that use this type of language as an essential form of communication are bees, but pheromones also have specific functions in other living beings. One of the most prominent functions of pheromones in many animals is related to sexual attraction, even in the case of humans.
In nature there are visual signals that warn of dangers, potential mates, etc., being a very important form of communication.. Many animals have a developed sense of sight that allows them to decipher messages that the environment is giving them.
There are colors that warn of dangers, such as the very bright colors of toxic frogs or the characteristic colors of bees and vespas. Also certain shapes or sizes can express aggression, such as when a cat swells up or a bear stands up. Another example could be the male peacock, which uses a visual language for courtship; by unfurling its tail an individual expresses that it is a healthy specimen for mating.
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Living beings can also transmit messages through touch in different ways.. Primates and other animals, especially mammals, can express many things like us by touching the skin, from love to rejection.
Other existing forms of tactile language are those using vibrations and electrical transmission. Examples are crocodiles or eels. The former can generate vibrations inside their bodies to attract females, while the latter use vibrations for courtship but also for orientation and aggression.
Many animals use the emission and reception of sound waves as a language for communication. A lot of information can be conveyed with the language of sound, because there is a wide range of pitch and intensity that can vary rapidly.. The main type of communication of human beings is sonorous thanks to our vocal cords, giving rise to verbal language.
Many animals such as birds, amphibians and mammals also have a form of communication in which they use vocal cords or vocal sacs. Reptiles can also emit sounds, such as crocodiles about to be born that warn their mother. Insects such as crickets or cicadas emit sounds, but produced in other parts of the body. Another strategy is that of bats, dolphins and sperm whales, which use echolocation to interact with each other in addition to hunting.
The uniqueness of human language
Language for human beings is usually identified as language, in which a type of sound information is used above all. However, while we speak we also express visual language through our face for example. The human being is able to communicate in the 4 previous ways, although chemistry in a very limited way (especially through pheromones).
The human language allows us to use a complex code that allows us to express concepts, thoughts and meanings. The explanation of how capable beings are able to use language is not yet certain. There are schools of thought that claim that it is an innate ability, that man speaks by nature. Others, on the contrary, conclude that it is a process of acquisition, typical of our capacity of adaptation and development.
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Types of complex human language
Below we show the different types of language that human beings are capable of using. You will not find here forms already explained and that are characteristic of other animals, such as tactile or chemical forms. We will now highlight those complex forms of language which use mainly sight and that use above all sight and hearing.
The ability to have such a complex verbal language has been one of the attributes that as humans has made us unique on planet Earth.. It is an unlimited resource in terms of communicative possibilities that has been a determining factor in our history as a species.
Each word can represent a meaning, represented by a combination of sounds that we are able to produce thanks to our vocal cords.
In a verbal communicative act, the following fundamental elements intervene:
Sender: who produces the message
Addressee: who receives the message
Message: the meaning, what the sender wants to communicate.
Code: the specific language being used (for example, the Spanish language).
Referent: that which is being talked about.
Context: the situation in which the communicative act takes place.
Channel: the medium that transmits the message
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Gestural language is based on the communication of the human body through expressions (gaze, facial mimicry, etc.) through expressions (look, facial mimicry, etc.), gestures (such as raising an arm or hands) or movements (sitting, crossing arms, etc.).
In fact, it can even be extrapolated to actions such as dancing. Dancing as such can also represent a form of gestural language, as it can express courtship, security, affection, etc.
The iconic-visual language is constructed through the image, and it is very important in the society in which we live.. For marketing and television it is fundamental, since they use it to convince us of the need for certain products. But the history of the human being has always been linked to this way of communicating, being the architectural language and the pictorial language clear representatives of it.
It is actually a variant of verbal language, since oral language is still something abstract, and by means of its representation in words it can be codified. This allows oral language, which is inherently part of the human being, to be expressed unambiguously.
In addition, thanks to the standardization of languages, confusion about the representation of language in writing has been dispelled. This has helped something that has been fundamental in recent human history, and that is that the knowledge of one generation can be passed on to future generations intact and permanent.
Formal languages are used in mathematics, physics, chemistry, programming, etc. They are artificial constructions that make sense to human beings.Their structures are based on the human language of other previous types. This allows their analysis to be based on that used for natural human language.
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