If Animals Could Talk

Human beings have the very unique ability to communicate to one another through language. As far as modern science can tell there really aren’t any other animals on earth with the capacity or ability to use language. We’ve taught apes to use sign language, and many animals can respond to verbal commands. While sign language is definitely language, apes do not seem to use anything that would qualify as language without human intervention.

Of course animals have the ability to communicate with each other through various means, but not through language. Anyone who has ever owned a dog will acknowledge the ability humans and dogs seem to have to communicate with each other verbally. When we command our dogs to sit or stay, they usually listen. We seem to know when our dogs are bored, scared or happy just by the sound of their barks, and while this is definitely communication, it isn’t language or “talking”. The question of whether or not Prairie Dogs have language is currently being researched and debated. They seemingly have a wide range of calls that reliably provoke the same or similar reactions.

As far as we know, animals cannot talk in the traditional sense, so we can only imagine what one might say if they could. I think that if animals could talk they’d have a lot to say. Anyone with a dog has probably experienced their pet barking like crazy at odd hours of the night for seemingly no reason at all. “What do you need?” “What do you want?” you might’ve shouted in anger. What if the dog could simply tell you exactly what it wanted? “Nothing in particular, was just bored. You up?” “I’m hungry, when will we eat?” “I know we just got back from a walk, but when is the next one?”

I think our dogs would say or ask exactly what we already assume they’re saying. I can’t imagine they’d ever have anything profound to say. I fear dogs would no longer be mans’ best friend if we could hear their every thought, as I think we’d find them annoying. I don’t think cats would have anything to say to us; maybe they do have the ability to talk but just choose not to.

Animals might ask us why we live the way that we do. I don’t think animals would understand the way humans live, like why we need money or why we work. I think people imagine that animals would have some very wise things to say about the environment and society. I think famous experiments like The Mouse Utopia show that animals are just as bad as us if given the right circumstances. Predators kill indiscriminately, a serious crime in human society. People imagine that animals would have some profound thoughts to share about climate change and the like but in reality I think they’re less capable than we are to make a change.

I think that if animals could talk to us, we’d have a whole lot more in common than we imagine and that we’d probably like them less because of that.



intervention (n) ? getting involved in a process or situation in the hopes of changing it
profound (adj.) - having or showing great knowledge/insight
utopia (n) ? a place in which everything is perfect
indiscriminately (adv.) - unsystematically, randomly