Mind
The communication between the said and the unsaid. Between language and non-verbal communication.

The communication between the said and the unsaid. Between language and non-verbal communication.

An important element that distinguishes the human being from the animals is the use of the word to be able to relate together with his fellow human beings, and also to succeed in what is the role of the survival of the human being, because thanks to language, human beings they manage to warn their fellow men of the presence of a possible danger, or to make them partakers of their moods and feelings.

 

Advertising message Language was one of the greatest mysteries that accompanied man. A religious and mystical vision has been attributed to this ability, since no other being is able to give a name to objects, or to use symbols to relate to them. Nowadays it is seen as an object of study examined by psychologists, psycholinguists, and developmental psychologists; this is because many have been attracted to the vision of the discovery of the process that leads the child to the development of language and to learn what is the mother tongue and other languages. Many scholars have always wondered how this happens. Various theories have arisen on this subject and also different points of view with the aim of explaining the possible developments that occur in the child and their relationship with the organs delegated to language; but these same theories also manifest an inability to explain the development of certain linguistic phenomena.

Starting from what the Zanichelli Vocabulary (2007) says, language is nothing but:

The authors highlight how the connection between the communicative and the linguistic function is relevant and close for human beings. But what actually is the link between language and communication? It is not always as obvious as it seems. It can be seen how the different animal species communicate with each other even without the use of the word, this leads us to think that a form of communication is taking place between them; an example is the dance of bees which move their body for the purpose of transmitting a message. The ability of the human being to be able to transmit messages to his fellow human beings thanks to the sharing of certain gestures, such as sign language, also involves the use of this method. From this, then, it is deduced that communication requires the sharing of the same code, but it is also possible to communicate with other systems in addition to using a purely verbal code. The use of spoken language has in itself the ability to be able to modify it, this modification process is defined as the ‘creativity of language’. Language is articulated on two levels: the level of sounds (phenomena) and that of words (duality of structure). Sounds in themselves have no meaning; in turn combining the words together we get the sentences whose meaning is more than the sum of the words. In fact, the creativity of language lies precisely in this: in the ability to infinitely vary the discrete elements of the words so as to be able to form the various sentences with different meaning. In linguistics, the term competence refers to the full knowledge of a language, this term is widely used by psychologists who deal with language processing processes. It is important to distinguish competence from actual use of the language, that is, linguistic execution. An important property concerning the implication of the study and the linguistic elaboration is its arbitrary form of communication; that is, its arbitrary transmission which is impossible to grasp without a preliminary understanding of its form and meaning. In a diametrically opposite position there is the iconic dimension, within which it is possible to identify the meaning of the message expressed by the subject. this term is widely used by psychologists who deal with language processing processes. It is important to distinguish competence from actual use of the language, that is, linguistic execution. An important property concerning the implication of the study and the linguistic elaboration is its arbitrary form of communication; that is, its arbitrary transmission which is impossible to grasp without a preliminary understanding of its form and meaning. In a diametrically opposite position there is the iconic dimension, within which it is possible to identify the meaning of the message expressed by the subject. this term is widely used by psychologists who deal with language processing processes. It is important to distinguish competence from actual use of the language, that is, linguistic execution. An important property concerning the implication of the study and the linguistic elaboration is its arbitrary form of communication; that is, its arbitrary transmission which is impossible to grasp without a preliminary understanding of its form and meaning. In a diametrically opposite position there is the iconic dimension, within which it is possible to identify the meaning of the message expressed by the subject. An important property concerning the implication of the study and the linguistic elaboration is its arbitrary form of communication; that is, its arbitrary transmission which is impossible to grasp without a preliminary understanding of its form and meaning. In a diametrically opposite position there is the iconic dimension, within which it is possible to identify the meaning of the message expressed by the subject. An important property concerning the implication of the study and the linguistic elaboration is its arbitrary form of communication; that is, its arbitrary transmission which is impossible to grasp without a preliminary understanding of its form and meaning. In a diametrically opposite position there is the iconic dimension, within which it is possible to identify the meaning of the message expressed by the subject.

But of course it is not possible to express oneself through the only iconic form, although much easier to learn; because a message needs a previously agreed sign to designate particular parts of the message. Therefore the arbitrary representation of the meaning is essential to the full creativity of a language, the messages expressed only exclusively in iconic form, would transmit only a narrow form of messages, compromising linguistic creativity.

Language ability is a human ability and it is possible that there is a qualitative leap between us and other animal species, especially the closest ones. Many, in fact, are the studies carried out on different animals, among which the most important are the experiments done on chimpanzees.

One of the most famous of these is that carried out by Hayes and Hayes (1951). They raised a chimpanzee named Vicky for 6 years teaching him the English language, but this animal, after the whole training period, had managed to acquire the ability to say 4 words.

One reason for the total failure of these studies is certainly the fact that the phonatory apparatus of non-human primates is not suitable for producing linguistic sounds; for example, non-human primates, as in Hayes and colleague’s experiment, are unable to control the lips and tongue to block the air like humans, and their larynx is too high to allow the production of the typical sounds of language. In an attempt to overcome the anatomical limits of non-human primates, researchers have used different strategies regarding the acquisition of a language other than oral.

Advertising message The spouses Gardner (1969,1971) used the American sign language (ASL), trying to teach it to the 10-month-old female chimpanzee, Washoe. From 11 to 51 months Washoe was exposed to a simplified form of the American sign language and acquired about 150 signs through imitation, or in other cases through specific training, in which the teacher made Washoe’s hand the shape of the sign and then guided its movement. Washoe learned to combine the signs, quite similarly to what 2-year-olds do (eg “you drink, go, eat”); however, upon close examination, it was observed that the order of the signs in Washoe production was less rigid and more chaotic than in the combinations of children. Washoe was able to distinguish different orders of words (“you hit me”; “I hit tea”). However, he was unable to spontaneously carry out these questions towards those who looked after him, which the children do. The data obtained from Gardner’s experiments were later reviewed and the difficulty in interpreting the different signs of Washoe in terms of language skills was underlined. Reviewing the work of Gardner, Terrace, Petitto Sanders and Bever (1979), observing Washoe’s records, they noticed how the animal imitated the movements that the instructor produced. The data obtained from Gardner’s experiments were later reviewed and the difficulty in interpreting the different signs of Washoe in terms of language skills was underlined. Reviewing the work of Gardner, Terrace, Petitto Sanders and Bever (1979), observing Washoe’s records, they noticed how the animal imitated the movements that the instructor produced. The data obtained from Gardner’s experiments were later reviewed and the difficulty in interpreting the different signs of Washoe in terms of language skills was underlined. Reviewing the work of Gardner, Terrace, Petitto Sanders and Bever (1979), observing Washoe’s records, they noticed how the animal imitated the movements that the instructor produced.

Similar conclusions have been drawn towards the abilities of Nim, a chimpanzee studied by Terrace and colleagues (1979). Also this chimpanzee learned during his first 4 years of life the American sign language, acquired numerous gestures and produced about 20,000 combinations formed by 2 or more gestures respecting a certain order. But a careful analysis has shown that, unlike what happens in children, who over time acquire a greater command of the language and produce increasingly long and elaborate sentences, this does not happen in Nim, which instead, always produces short sentences and not very elaborate. In addition, there was a lack of initiative on the part of the latter, which tends to end sentences already started by the instructor and, as in the case of Washoe, to reproduce the gestures provided by the instructor.

Premack (1971), on the other hand, used with Sarah, another 7-year-old chimpanzee, an artificial language in which plastic tokens, of shape, color, size, different from each other, became real letters which were changed to form a linguistic communication with their own arbitrary rules.

Unlike the other animals in the studies exposed earlier, Sarah had been raised in a laboratory and initially she was taught two signs, among which she had to choose the correct one and was rewarded with food. So Sarah learned to associate symbols and objects or events, words that stood for attributes, actions and abstract relationships. Subsequently, the chimpanzee was trained to respond to sequences and symbols. By combining the tokens in a different order Sarah was able to produce different sentences. She displayed a certain sensitivity to the order of words in the execution of the tasks. However, outside the laboratory Sarah showed herself to be indifferent to symbolic stimuli; this suggests that he had not learned to speak but to solve certain problems with the help of symbols and tokens.