Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Language Research: Dolphins

  • Adam A. PackEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1628-1


Historically, one of the cognitive hallmarks ascribed to humans has been the ability to communicate using language. Language is a multifaceted and complex ability that allows us to assign arbitrary symbols meaning and to use and understand these symbols in referential exchanges with others that draw joint attention to agents, objects, and events both present and displaced in space and time (Nelson 1977; Savage-Rumbaugh 1986). Language also allows us to employ rules called syntax to generate different combinations of symbols that extend meaning beyond the individual symbol, and allows the same symbols in different combinations to create completely different meanings (Bronowski and Beluggi 1970; Savage-Rumbaugh et al. 1993). Neurobiology, cognition, and the acoustic and social environments to which we are exposed at an early age all have a profound influence on the initial language or languages we acquire (Hoff 2014). Yet even as adults our linguistic abilities are...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Psychology and BiologyUniversity of Hawaii at HiloHiloUSA
  2. 2.The Dolphin InstituteHiloUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sarah Dunphy-Lelii
    • 1
  1. 1.Bard CollegeAnnandale-On-HudsonUSA