One of the things we’ve always wondered is whether animals speak different languages or accents. We know that people come from all corners of the world and that languages vary from country to country, and even from region to region. A Brazilian, for instance, clearly has a different language and accent to a Russian. Similarly, a Spaniard from Basque Country would have a different dialect to a Spaniard from Madrid.
But, we have often wondered whether animals share this trait. If you lived in France, and you took your dog to Thailand, would it be able to understand other dogs? Well, incredibly, science has actually been able to answer this question. And it turns out that animals do, indeed speak regional languages and accents! Let’s look a little closer at this curious phenomenon and the way in which it impacts on animals across the world.
Whales are actually one of the creatures for whom this is the case, and scientists have studied them extensively over the years. It has been found that, within the ocean, more than nine different populations of Blue Whales actually have their own distinct language. Sperm whales communicate through clicks known as codas, and these also have their own distinct dialects as well. In fact, further probing in this regard has led to the discovery that some Sperm Whales actually have Caribbean dialects!
It’s not just whales that appear to communicate in different accents, dialects, and languages – it’s other animals as well. For example, scientists took the time to analyze and study the howls of dogs and wolves, and discovered more than 21 different types of howl! Some howls vary in pitch, while others, like Arctic Wolves, howl in the same pitch. Nevertheless, there are plenty of results that show that many of these animals howl in different ways and with different dialects. These are essential for communication in the wild, and most likely used as a form of identifying fellow pack members or family.
We can learn a lot
By looking at animal dialects, we can actually learn quite a lot about our own language, and how it has evolved. It’s interesting to look at what factors within animals might have actually led to better communication and the evolution of language. It seems highly likely that sociability is one of the biggest factors involved in this. It seems that these varying accents and dialects can actually help to strengthen the cultural and familial bonds between these animals and reinforce their place in the ecosystem.
It’s pretty remarkable to think that there are animals that actually have different dialects. We assume that animals just have a one-size-fits-all noise they make and that this is how they communicate with one another. But, the truth of it is that they are much more complicated than that. It’s incredible to think that animals are not actually all that different from you and I, and the next time you hear someone with a different dialect, remember that the animals also have this!