Hockett's "design features" of language
As you have seen from the different definitions of language on previous pages and the audio clip on the right, language cannot be described or defined by one single feature; it is a polymorphus concept. On the page directly before this you saw how Hockett (1960) isolated 13 features that characterise language and which distinguish it from communication.
After working through the design features of Hockett please tick the appropriate boxes below of what you think can or cannot be found in animal communication.
You might like to print out a hard-copy of your classification above. You can do this by selecting "Print" from the web browsers "File" menu.
Please keep these features in mind when you go on and examine the language experiments. You will find some examples where the researchers claim that the animals actually demonstrated their ability for the features 9 to 13 which are usually claimed to be typical and unique to humans.