Language — what we have in common?

Once thought of differentiator between humans and other animals, perhaps we are now learning that language is something we have in common.

The New York Times reports from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that a study of monkeys in Africa finds them putting conditional suffixes on sounds—or shall we say words? Klaus Zuberbühler and researchers previously identified sounds with meanings when studying Campbell’s monkeys in the Tai National Park of the Ivory Coast. They now have shown that the monkeys modify their sounds to communicate further refinements of the sound meanings.

Now, I know that some suffixes on sounds are a far cry from Shakespeare, but it’s fun to realize that these guys have been communicating quite well while we assumed, in our hubris, that such communication was ours alone.

Marjolein Groot Nibbelink
Marjolein realized early on that the Netherlands was too small for her. After traveling to 30+ countries over the span of 10 years she moved to the United States in 2014. She holds a degree in Communication from the University of Rotterdam and has long had an affinity for creative writing.


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