Dogs are not dumb! They can pick up signals regarding quite a list of vocabulary words and intonations in human speech. All that is required is human-canine interaction.
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Some parts of the canines’ brains resemble that of human beings. This could be the only reason why these dogs can understand their masters’ commands so well. A dog is after all a man’s best friend.
While up until now it had been supposed that vocabulary was a strictly human attribute, now it seems that several animal species show the ability to recognize many words.
The rise of language in human beings may have been through onomatopoeia. Yet this language instinct is so old that it merges in with the vocal calls of other species.
Phonics and semantics are inextricably entangled in the web of words that is language. While words are the building blocks of language, tone of voice is another great hint towards what a sentence means. Humans pick up linguistic signals through both vocabulary and intonation.
Whether dogs employ the same means of recognizing orders that their masters shout at them remained a mystery. That is up until now. The trainers spoke to the dogs in the study in a series of positive and neutral ways.
There was pure praise, then neutral words with intonation that was praising, praising words that were coupled with neutral intonation and finally neutral words with neutral intonation. MRI scans of the canines’ brains were gathered at the same time.
The results showed that irrespective of intonation, dogs recognized the words as praising syllables or neutral lexemes. They even processed these words in the left hemispheres of their brains as many human beings do.
Dogs tend to recognize intonation in a different module from the speech center. This lay in the auditory region in the right hemisphere of the brain. This came as somewhat of a surprise.
Finally, the researchers found that in actuality the canines did take intonation into consideration along with the vocabulary. Yet it played a minor role when compared to separate words which were recognized in a matter of seconds.
Thus the evolution of canines must have led to the development of their brains as helpers of man in his struggles with the environment.
While these canines picked up quite a few words along the way, the fact remains that human beings are the only species to invent words and the language structure that goes along with them