Official 09 Set 6

  • Q1
  • Q2
  • Q3
  • Q4
  • Q5
  • Q6

Features of Human Language

  • Q1
  • Q2
  • Q3
  • Q4
  • Q5
  • Q6
What does the professor mainly discuss?
  • A. The findings of a study on prairie dog communication

  • B. The way that mammals learn to make warning cries

  • C. Features that distinguish language from animal communication systems

  • D. Various types of signal used by animals to communicate with each other

显示答案 正确答案: C

我的笔记 编辑笔记

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    NARRATOR:Listen to part of a lecture in a linguistics class. The professor has been discussing Animal communication systems.

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:OK, so last time, we covered the dances honey bees do to indicate where food can be found and the calls and sounds of different types of birds.Today, I'd like to look at some communication systems found in mammals, particularly in primates, such as orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas... Yes, Thomas?

    MALE STUDENT:Excuse me, Professor. But when you talk about gorilla language, do you mean like, those experiments where humans taught them sign language or a language like...

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:OK, wait just a minute.Now, who in this class heard me use the word "language"? No one I hope.What we're talking about here, are systems of communication, all right?

    MALE STUDENT:Oh, sorry, communication, right.But could you maybe, like, clarify with the differences?

    Of course, that's a fair question.OK, well, to start with, let's make it clear that language is a type of communication, not the other way around.OK, so all communication systems, language included, have certain features in common.For example, the signals used to communicate from the bee's dance movements, to the word and sentences found in human languages.All these signals convey meaning.And all communication systems serve a purpose, a pragmatic function of some sort.Warning of danger perhaps or offering other needed information.

    But there're several features peculiar to human language that have, for the most part, never been found in the communication system of any other species.

    For one thing, learn ability.Animals...animals have instinctive communication systems.When a dog, a puppy gets to certain age, it's able to bark.It barks without having to learn how from other dogs, it just barks.But much of human language has to be learned from other humans.

    What else makes human language unique?What makes it different from animal communication? Debber?

    How about grammar? Like having verbs, nouns, adjectives?

    OK, that's another feature. And it's a good example...

    I mean I mention this cause like in my biology class last year, I kind of remember talking about a study on prairie dogs, where, I think the researchers claimed that the warning cries of prairie dogs constitute language, because they have this, different parts of speech.You know, like nouns, to name the type of predator they spotted, adjectives to describe its size and shape, verbs..., but now it seems like...

    All right, hold on a moment.I'm familiar with the study you're talking about.And for those of you who don't know, prairie dogs are not actually dogs.They're type of rodent who burrow in the ground and the grasslands of the west United States and Mexico.

    And in this study, the researchers looked the high-pitched barks a prairie dog makes when it spots predator.And from this they made some pretty... well, they made some claims about these calls qualifying as an actual language, with its own primitive grammar.But actually, these warning calls are no different from those found among certain types of monkeys.And,Well, let's not even get into the question whether concepts like noun and verb can be meaningfully applied to animal communication.

    Another thing that distinguishes a real language is a property we call "discreteness".In other words, messages are built up out of smaller parts, sentences out of words, words out of individual sounds, etc.Now maybe you could say that the prairie dog's message is built from smaller parts, like say for example, our prairie dogs spot a predator, a big coyote approaching rapidly.So the prairie dog makes a call that means "coyote", then one that means "large", and then another one to indicate "speed".But you really suppose it makes any difference what order these calls come in?

    No. But the discrete units that make up language can be put together in different ways.Those smaller parts can be used to form an infinite number of messages, including messages that are completely novel, that have never been expressed before.For example, we can differentiate between: "A large coyote moves fast." and say "Move the large coyote fast." or "Move fast, large coyote.", and I truly doubt whether anyone has ever uttered either of these sentences before.

    Human language is productive and open-ended communication system, whereas no other communication system has this property.

    And another feature of language that's not displayed by any form of animal communication is what we call "displacement".That is, language is abstract enough that we can talk about things that aren't present here and now.Things like "My friend Jo is not in the room." or "It will probably rain next Thursday."Prairie dogs may be able to tell you about a hawk that's circling over head right now, but they never show any inclination to describe the one they saw last week.

  • 旁白:请听一段语言学课上的演讲。教授一直在讨论动物交流体系的问题。

















    另一种任何动物交流都没有显示过的语言特征叫做“位移”。那就是,语言是抽象的,我们所讲的东西可以此时此刻此地并不在场的。比如“我的朋友Jo 不在房间里”或“下周四很可能下雨”草原犬鼠也许能够跟你说你的上空有一只老鹰正在盘旋,但是他们从来没有能够描述上周看到的东西。

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    原文定位:I'd like to look at some communication systems found in mammals, particularly in primates, such as orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas...
    这篇文章的主旨需要全文的总结概括。教授开头说要讲some communication systems found in mammals,但是这样选择证据还不充分,往下面听内容。下面教授讨论了几个 features,人类的 unique,如此,C选项正确。其他的选项太片面。





Features of Human Language