Searle argues that languages made the hominids think and do speech acts that are not possible without language (194). This suggests that if human (or human-like) language is given to animals (especially human-like primates such as apes), it will open the path for them to think and make speech acts as it did to humans. However, I disagree with this argument and want to suggest that animals can never attain human language or vice versa, because these two types of languages lie in two distinctive areas and share different cultures that have never been learnable to each other.
Human language and animal language lie in two different areas that are not shareable and approachable by each other. Human language originates and relies on external factor such as speakers in a language community whereas animal language arises and exists in its innate biology. Eales’ study about zebra finches demonstrates that male zebra finches that were exposed only to the female zebra finches during their sensitive phase were able to obtain male song when it was available for them later. Furthermore, they no longer used the female song when they found what was natural to them. As Eales suggests, this study indicates that there is a suitable and natural language for animals, unlike humans. For humans, language acquirement heavily relies on the surrounding of a learner. As Saussure suggests, language exists in a contract (638). A contract has characteristics. First, there has to be two or more people who make and agree to the contract. Second, if the contract does not work well, the speakers are allowed to modify it because the contract itself is not innate. It exists to “serve” the speakers. Thus, if it does not function as a “server” well, then the speakers can modify it or create a new one. When the Hebrew language, for example, revived again, the Language Council created new words by modifying existed words. This practice was possible only for human language, because the language lies in speakers and their contract. However, as I introduced Eales’ study about zebra finches, animal language cannot be a contract, but a natural biological factor that they are destined to have. It lies in their biology, rather than contract. Humans are not doomed to learn a particular language as babies are called “citizens of the world” due to their flexibility in adopting a language(s). Another evidence can be found in feral children who were raised by animals without any exposure to a human language. They attain neither a human language nor an animal language because the origin of these two languages does not overlap at all. Thus animal language is determined by their internal factor, which is their biology while human language is determined by external elements, which are the contract and their surroundings.
Another reason that animals are not able to attain human language comes from its lack of ability to learn a human culture. Human language is conventionalized and culturally bound. That does not mean human cannot attain a second language that is from his own mother tongue. When human learns a second language, he understands that language is culturally conventionalized from his experience of the mother tongue. However, animals do not have this culture to take it as a reference as humans do. Savage Rumbaugh et al. argues that because Chimpanzee Lana did not have the same socio-cultural context a as human, she could not make connections between words and its meaning. Then a question arises: Can Lana learn a culture that will lead her to learn a human language? My answer is no. Many aspects of human culture have derived from what we do not see physically (i.e., customs, morals, history, etc.). However, it is hard to find evidence if animals perceive concepts that they do not see physically. Using different types of tenses, for example, demonstrates animal’s lack of understanding of culture, or things that they cannot see. Almost every human language has some kind of tense distinction. Not only that, the human being has been interested in times that they cannot see for a long time as many ancient murals, potteries, and art pieces demonstrate. It contains different time frames including even before life and afterlife. Usage of different time frame emerged from their desire and demand to express something that they do not see. However, we do not observe any trace like this from animal language. They do not have the perception of the time frame that does not exist in the present, which suggests that animals cannot obtain culture that humans naturally have.
Because human language and animal language are generated from two distinctive areas, they are not only manifested to be developed differently but also cannot be accessed by each other. Also human’s ability to perceive time and objects that they cannot see yielded cultural differences between the two languages. Thus, an animal can never attain human language or vice versa. My argument also suggests that language evolution from animal to people never happened and will not happen either because of the two reasons that I listed