The Subjectivity of Language

I am taking a creative writing course and yesterday the conversation in the classroom addressed the subjectivity of language. Subjectivity may be defined as a concept that is open to interpretation and can be contested, for example existentialism, whereas objectivity may be defined as a concept that is concrete in its nature and cannot be debated, for example essentialism.

The conversation in my class regarded human language and communication in comparison to animal language and communication. After much debate, my class was unable to come to the conclusion as to whether or not the language of animals is as complex as the language of humans. Animals undoubtedly posses their own language, typically expressed through sound and physical movement, but humans tend to express language through means of tangible words. If animals cannot articulate concrete words, does this mean that they do not possess a language as complex as humans? I am unsure.

What was particularly fascinating to me personally was whether or not animals are able to lie. We agreed that humans are able to lie in the sense that they withhold or suppress truth, but do animals not do the same? Dogs, for example, lie when they ‘play dead’ – are they not suppressing the truth and therefore lying in a manner similar to how humans lie?

Language is an incredibly complex and vast system. It has the ability to both unite and isolate individuals from others, making it one of the most difficult concepts in the world to have a concrete and complete understanding of. I personally believe that animals do, in fact, have language, and though I am unsure as to whether or not it is as complex as human language, I am sure that animals are able to communicate with one another to the same extent humans are able to communicate with other humans.

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