Why can’t Animals Learn to Talk?

There is a very good reason why animals cannot learn to talk as human beings do, that is, use words to express ideas. Most of the  intelligent things animals do is a result of inheriting certain patterns of behaviour.

This works in special situations, but whens you change the situations the animal usually does not know how to deal with it. The other reason animals behave “intelligently” is that they go through a trial and error method of learning.

Neither of these two ways of “thinking” can ever lead to talking. Talking means the use of words as symbols. The word stands for and idea or a thing it is a symbol of it. Animals do not have the ability to deal with symbols.


Their minds cannot use combinations of symbols the way human beings do. When we study how a child learns to say “mama”, we can see how complicated learning to talk really is. First the baby learns to recognize mother by seeing her again and again.

As soon as the child recognizes her, the mother keeps pointing to herself and saying “mama” at the same time. Gradually the infant hears the sound “mama”. After a while, the baby remembers this sound, and now it understands the word “Mama”.


Later on, the child makes a connection between the appearance of mother and the sound “Mama”, and it identifies her. Now the mother shows and the sound “mama”, and it identifies her. Now the mother shows the child how to say the word with its mouth. The baby imitates her and reaches the stage of word formation.

It keeps on trying to say the word until certain muscles begin to work. Finally the day comes when everything is ready for talking. The baby sees the mother, recognizes her, remembers the word, form the word, starts the right muscles working, and says “Mama”!

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