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Dolphin language intermediary

Intermediary language for communication with dolphins
  [vote for,

I heard of many scientists who are trying to decypher the language dolphins use to communicate with each other. What I've always wanted to see is an experiment whereby young dolphins are taught to speak an intermediary language of our devising, based on clicks and whistles they are capable of making, and with a simple syntax. Scientists could then speak to dolphins by use of a computer system that translates what they type or say into the dolphin language, while things the dolphins say in this language would be translated back to our speech via a "voice" recognition system. This would, I think, be a tremendously useful way to determine the extent of their intelligence, as well as their wishes, desires, and motivations.

Hope this isn't baked already. Actually, I wouldn't mind if it is.

schnitzi, Sep 16 2002

Hey Flipper, What's Shakin'? http://www.wired.co...,1294,41705,00.html
"Researchers at Sea Life Park Hawaii are working on a way to get humans even closer to our flipper friends: They're devising a common language of dolphin-like whistles." [bristolz, Sep 16 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Douglas Adams on Dolphins http://gladstone.uo.../~mlewis/q-dna.html
See quote no. 5 [8th of 7, Sep 19 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

John Lilly book http://tinyurl.com/68pv
for what it's worth [mrthingy, Oct 04 2004]

Dolphin Rosetta http://www.popsci.c...dolphins-and-humans
[theircompetitor, May 16 2011]


       link please, love Larson
po, Sep 16 2002

       Interesting. So the humans are devising a common language dolphin-like whistles... who's teaching who?
waugsqueke, Sep 16 2002

       Doesn't this idea presuppose that dolphins have a language?
phoenix, Sep 17 2002

       Good point, [phoenix]. Humans have thousands of languages. Each dolphin pod (school ?) probably has its own "family" language.   

       If all dolphins hare a common language, that would place them at a level of development considerably in advance of homo sapiens. And that's a very frightening thought ..... "So long, and thanks for all the fish" ...... (Douglas Adams)
8th of 7, Sep 17 2002

       Arthur C Clarke came up with this idea in 1957 (The deep range).
madradish, Sep 19 2002

       I wonder how far this idea could go, really, assuming that dolphins use sound as a language in the proper sense. Can you imagine the difficulties you'd come across just from the different frame of reference dolphins have?   

       -- Flipper, where were you yesterday? -- What's "yesterday"?   

       Still I love the idea. (+)
dryan, Sep 19 2002

       I believe that scientists working in some sunny area with lots of dolphins have already proved that dolphins have dialects. Therefore I'm with 8th - it's entirely reasonable to assume that there are a number of "languages" used by dolphins, if we could class them as languages. It is also entirely possible that the noises they make enable them to communicate in a different manner than the written/aural word-based communication we tend to think we use.
PeterSilly, Sep 19 2002

       Ablsolutely, PeterSilly. We lack the sense organs of a dolphin. We can neither broadcast ultrasound nor interpret the 3D return signal generated by the return. Dolphins do this. There is debate (but I have yet to see evidence) that dolphins also communicate between each other using ultrasound pictures. "It's under the rock that looks like <blast of ultrasound painting picture of rock>."   

       They do not have the type of vocal control that allows us to speak in any of our languages. We do not have the type of vocal control to speak in theirs. We need to find common ground. Sign language is commonly used when comunicating with dolphins as we can both see. Unfortuately it's mostly one way as it has been developed for use by species with hands.   

       I find bristolz' link is so interesting because it is one of the first means of communication between man and dolphin that is symmetrical. Have a beachball.
st3f, Sep 19 2002

       // We do not have the type of vocal control to speak in theirs //   

       Not yet. But computers are getting "smarter" all the time and it's not unreasonable to assume that in a couple of decades, the smartest species on Earth will be able to communicate with the second smartest species on Earth quite happily (just liten to your modem whistling and clicking of you don't believe me), which sadly leaves poor old h. sapiens trailing along in third place (or fourth, if you believe those sicko cat-lovers).
8th of 7, Sep 19 2002

       I think the term used for animals is 'call'. That is, no animal has a known language, but many of them have calls which they use to relate basic information.
phoenix, Sep 19 2002

       Since there are quite a few species of dolphin, i think humans are a lot lower than third.
sadie, Sep 19 2002

       You and 8th seem awfully ready to give up the top spot based on nothing more than guesses.
bristolz, Sep 19 2002

       Maybe we don't have a very high opinion of humans ? See link.
8th of 7, Sep 19 2002

       8th - are you classifying a computer as a species? If so, it is inherently dumb. It will only do exactly as you tell it. Therefore, even if I accept your dubious taxonomy, I still couldn't classify it as smart.   

       I'm still pondering dolphins speaking with a Yorkshire accent...
PeterSilly, Sep 19 2002

       // are you classifying a computer as a species? //   

       Not yet. You're right, they're dumb. So are flatworms - in fact, they're smarter, because most computers don't even have the wit to come in out of the rain.   

       This does not mean that we can not or will not "evolve" them to the point where they express all the classical external attributes of intelligence. At that point it will all become even more interesting.
8th of 7, Sep 19 2002

       Phoenix: "I think the term used for animals is 'call'."
Say that enough and you'll refuse to admit that there may be a language present. Bees have a language, or do you describe the ability to communicate the location of flowers over a mile away simply by shaking your arse a call, too. If bees then why not dolphins.
Sorry to get huffy, but I consider this kind of semantic belittling of a scientific field to be quite hurtful.
st3f, Sep 20 2002

       [st3f] No offence taken as I'm just playing devil's advocate.   

       The core of the idea revolves around being able/willing to carry on an intelligent conversation. A dog can understand "Sit", etc. Maybe a dolphin can, too, but that wouldn't be the same as "To be or not to be..."
phoenix, Sep 20 2002

       Doesn't this all rather assume that, from the dolphin's point of view, we've got something worth talking to them about? I imagine that after the first few chats our conversations will gradually come to resemble the ones that we have amongst ourselves...

[Human] "Hey, flipper! Come over here a minute."
[Dolphin] "Hiya buddy! Got any hoops I can jump through?"
[Human] "Look, nothing personal but I couldn't help noticing that you stink of fish. Now, for only £9.99, I can sell you this specially created dolphin deoderant..."
DrBob, Sep 20 2002

       Honestly speaking, very few of the humans i've met are capable of even starting to understand Hamlet. We're very good at judging our species only by the best examples of it, not the worst - a bias we don't often show with other species.
sadie, Sep 21 2002

       bee is shaking some booty.
thumbwax, Feb 22 2003

       Perhaps it's a suggestion for communicating with dolphins through a series of precise ass shakes.
waugsqueke, Feb 22 2003

       Just a little tail.


       Will that do?
FloridaManatee, Feb 23 2003

.. )

       [st3f]//Bees have a language, or do you describe the ability to communicate the location of flowers over a mile away simply by shaking your arse a call, too.//   

       For me, language implies the ability of communicating an abstract concept. What bees have I would call a set of signals. If something isn't part of the signal set, they can't communicate it. They can't (AFAIK) add to the signal set by creating a new signal using existing signals.
GenYus, Jan 13 2004

       I can undertstand your wanting to differentiate between the simple language of bees and the more complex spoken languages of humans. But if you refuse to use the word for a simple case like the honeybee dance then you're going to find it rather inconvenient to read scientific papers on the subject. It is commonly referred to as 'honeybee dance language' or 'bee language' in those papers.   

       You've raised an interesting question, though: how complex does a language have to be before we can use it to communicate about a subject that is not part of shared experience? And have we managed to communicate at that level with another species, yet?
st3f, Jan 14 2004

       Dolphins can respond by to sign language with a few simple mimicked human gestures (nodding, shaking head) which is where sign language falls down as a somms medium 'cos the dolphins can't talk back, though gorillas and a few other apes/simians can be taught to converse this way. What is needed is a system that's fair both ways, I reckon that a dolphin should be able to master using sequences of human audible clicks/squeaks/other dolphin noises to represent words and meanings. The human speaker would use the same system (maybe through a computer) so the dolphin only has one language to learn.   

       Here's an interesting question- would a dolphin prefer to use a case based (like Finnish, Latin, or to a lesser extent Russian) or a word order based language? (like english)
squigbobble, Jan 14 2004

       We don't care -- just get more fish
theircompetitor, Jan 14 2004

       So it'd work like sign language with gorillas? Rock on.
Almafeta, Oct 18 2004


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