4
$\begingroup$

If I had a parallel universe that had all the basic ideas of our universe (gravity, friction, inertia, etc.), how could I logically have certain animal breeds not only talk, but communicate verbally in human terms? I believe it would be in the language of the area in which they live. These breeds don't exist on earth but are basically animals like we know. I'm guessing the brain would have to somehow develop past normal animal capacity. Also, if the animal developed that far, would it potentially be able to learn different languages?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Related: Does intelligence necessarily lead to an abstract language? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Nov 21 '15 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Animals already do (i.e. humans) $\endgroup$ – Quiquȅ Nov 22 '15 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ If what you mean is like human communication I would suggest you watch the new Lion King movie so you may be able gain some insight as to how this might be possible $\endgroup$ – LiNKeR Oct 18 at 1:21
5
$\begingroup$

Here's an interesting fact: Humans are animals.

It's not all the strange to think of an animal being able to speak, we do it everyday. So, not only does this parallel universe not need to be very different, it can be exactly the same. As with the animals on Earth that speak, it's quite likely these other animals would be capable of learning different languages.

So, yes, you could logically have certain animals speak in this parallel universe and they could even be polyglots.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

As others have pointed out, we already communicate with members of some species (gorillas, parrots, etc).

The tricky part is this: would they be sapient?

Humans are animals

Humans were not the strongest, or fastest animals around. However, we had large brains, and complex voice-boxes, capable of forming many sounds.

No human could take a saber-tooth tiger, for example, on with their bear hands. But if that human builds a decent spear - and better yet, teams up with another couple of humans, that predator is toast. And that's exactly what happened.

Those humans unable to communicate, unable to learn to work in a team, or too stupid to understand how "newfangled technology" like spears worked, died off. That's how the human race slowly became smarter.

Eventually our thought patterns became quite complex, and look at us now, literally bending the world to our will. Which brings us to:

Animals

No other species on this planet comes even close to matching our drive or intelligence. Sure, almost every species is sentient, and some display incredible memory and pretty advanced thoughts, but none can rival us. None other are sapient. What does this amount to?

Coco the gorilla was taught sign language, and proved herself quite intelligent. But she didn't exactly go on to revolutionize gorilla-kind, now did she?

Chimps are incredibly smart - in fact, they're our genetic cousins. Scientists have tried raiding a chimp alongside a human child before. The chimp learns to use the potty, learns to raid the fridge for food, or open a jar, but it does not evolve past a certain point. The human baby had visibly overtaken the chimp by the time they were 2 years old.

Alex the parrot shocked scientists with his intelligence and reasoning abilities. He could express pretty complex ideas, and perform tasks such as looking at a bunch of different colored shapes, and, when asked, tell you that they may be similar in shape, but different in color, or vice-versa. Again, that's pretty damned smart, but him and his kind never went on to invent some better way to keep stronger predators at bay, or build more secure nests.

Talking animals

So you see, if a species of animal evolves to the point where they have a spoken language among themselves, and learn human languages, etc, that denotes human-like intelligence.

Such a species would not be mere animals, they would join humanity on the stage of sapient species. Note, please, that I'm not saying they would need to be as smart as us, just that they would in fact be on our level in a way that no other species we know of is.

These animals, would, by virtue of being able to communicate complex ideas to one another, start on the path to building a civilization, and killing them for food, for example, would become an incredibly nasty moral dilemma.

I don't think that such animals would behave completely like their equivalent, non-sapient cousins. Quite simply, once you start to reason, and look at the world through the filter of sapience, you would also begin to improve your life. To devise better ways to fight predators, better ways to obtain food (our distant ancestors would drive wild herds of mammoths off of cliffs), they would make tools, and probably develop some form of passing knowledge down to their offspring (so they would inevitably invent writing). That, or they would go extinct.

So just keep that in mind. Simple animals could be taught to speak, or express their feelings. For a creature to have evolved language prior to human contact they would have to be sapient, and that brings with it a lot of other implications as well.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Humans were animals who have evolved to design and speak languages. Localized communities needed to have a medium to communicate within themselves, which started from simple actions and clicks to full grammar.

So, yeah animals in that parallel universe would also follow a similar pattern of evolution when it comes to learning language.

They would first be native to a localized language (language evolved in the local community). And when they face a need to interact with other communities in that planet, they would slowly evolve/learn enough to become polyglots.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

All animals already communicate with each other. They communicate danger and the readiness to breed at the very least.

Some of the apes are actually able to communicate with humans primarily through sign language. Dogs communicate with humans through body language, and parrots can mimic human speech.

So given the right conditions other animals could evolve to have a spoken language with the ability to learn a new one. To realize, it is likely the animals would actually have their own language and need to learn the human one. Communities that have merged will likely share a common merged language between the two species after a time.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.