26 Feb '18 19:19>
Originally posted by @js357Language is not simply a heap of words which stand for things or actions. Language also encompasses grammar, tenses, and abstraction. It is grammar which makes the difference between "Kasparov beat Karpov" and "Karpov beat Kasparov." It is tenses which make the difference between "Kasparov beat Karpov yesterday" and "Kasparov is beating Karpov right now." It is abstraction which makes sense of "Kasparov would beat Karpov if they were to play tomorrow."
IF Michael Gazzaniga wants to define the word in a certain way and can get agreement, so be it. We can use "communication" as a broader term for the imparting of ideas by observable, conventional actions..But by defining "language" as solely a human action and limiting rational thought to language-users, we limit rational thought to humans, merely by the choice of definition. That isn't thought provoking.
Some animals communicate by means of grunts or squeaks or hoots or chirps, and these serve to attract attention or to warn of immediate dangers, but we have yet to detect anything in the animal kingdom equivalent to grammar, tenses, and abstractions. The 'dance' of the honey bee which describes a vector towards nectar-producing flowers is impressive, I must admit. I would not say that language is either on or off; it is a matter of subtle gradations, and some aspects of animal communication are surprisingly close to some aspects of human language. It's the total package, not some arbitrary definition or one single factor, which makes up a language.