how do animals learn their language to communicate?



Was watching this StarTalk episode about deciphering whale language and I wondered how the adults teach the calves? Do they actually teach them or do calves have some instinctive capability to understand and “speak”? For example, a very specific sound will always mean “danger” even if the calf was never taught that. It could just instinctively feel it means danger.

Same with bees. They can actually communicate the exact location of flowers miles away by dancing. How did they learn?????

In: Biology

Not all audible human communication is language. While not all people will understand “LOOK OUT, DANGER!” explicitly there will normally be context clues that mean they understand the spirit if not the letter. And everyone can understand a scream or a baby’s cry.

Most animals have an instinctive understanding of certain noise cues they make.
For animals learning to communicate, it’s no different to humans – observe, listen, imitate, feedback, refine. It’s just that the end point for a human language is a lot more complex.

Pretty much the same as humans. In fact, a lot of neurolinguistics research on songbirds informed our understanding of human learning and speech. Basically, they make noise and experiment with adjusting their muscles and air flow and compare the output sound to their acoustic memory of their parent’s voice. They keep making adjustments until their sounds are distinguishable enough to other birds for them to be understood.