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Animal Communication: Language Beyond Words


An animal eyes with wolf

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is, “language.”

The first thing I thought of was that animals have language though some snobs say they don’t. I didn’t mean to write snobs. But I wrote it right out of my stream of consciousness. (I don’t usually call names.) But I do love and respect animals.

In college, I wrote a research paper on the intelligence of dolphins and whales. There was plenty of research, even back then in the 1970’s, that suggested that dolphins and whales communicate in complex ways. This was based on their behavior. If you pay attention, you will see, hear, and sense things that you don’t notice when you don’t pay attention.  The songs of humpback whales are complex and change over time. Who’s to say that this is not language? Just because we don’t understand, just because it sounds different from human languages, doesn’t mean it’s not language.

Many animals have a keen sense and use of body language. They are more aware of it than we are as humans. My dogs have observed my body language very carefully. That’s probably the dominant way dogs communicate, but how do I know? They are probably way more complex than we realize. Who’s to say that a wolf’s howl is just a song? And song’s are language anyway.

great voices wolf pup

In Jean Auel’s book series that started with The Clan of the Cave Bear, the human-like tribes thought the Neanderthal-like tribes were animals because they did not speak. But we learned from the main character, Ayla (who I named my daughter after because I fell in love with these books), that this was not true. They did have a very complex language based on subtle body movements. Ayla knew this because the people of the Clan adopted her (even though she was one of the others) and she learned their language. Even though some of the Clan people thought she was slow and stupid because she did not have the “memories,” she learned healing from the woman who adopted her.

So, language is relative. Language is complicated and beautiful. Like The Five Love Languages which I’m mentioning in my May newsletter. There is the language of love that we communicate with our eyes, the windows to our souls, with no words at all. Perhaps a language without words (as we know them) has the potential to be even more powerful than simple words. Considering that, it’s pretty amazing that we communicate as well as we do, here on WordPress and other blog spots. I’ve made some good and meaningful connections with this language of words. So I’m not knocking language as we are accustomed to it. I’m just saying, there’s a whole lot more to language than just human words.

This video excerpt starts with lots of surface action which I recommend watching in full screen. The singing begins just after two minutes.

(The photos are from Pinterest.)

Linda G. Hill is our host for the Saturday Stream of Consciousness. Visit her blog to follow more streams at:


Here are the SoCS rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

19 thoughts on “Animal Communication: Language Beyond Words

  1. I agree with you 😊😊. Cesar Milan says dogs communicate through both energy, sounds and body language 💖💖💖. I think energy communication is very important and something humans are not very familiar with at all. In that way, animals are way superior to us, and we have a lot to learn from them. 💖😊

    • This is so true! In some ways, animals are much more aware than humans. We do have a lot to learn from them. Thank you for these great points, Trini. ❤

  2. I agree, and it’s easy to see how animals watch humans for signs and behaviour, and visa versa. All animals are precious, and have the right to life and loving-kindness. Much love. Tara

    • All animals are precious. That word fits so well. I’m glad you feel that way. They do deserve life and loving kindness. I struggle with some of the bugs that come in my house, though. I always catch the spiders and moths and put them outside, but some of the bugs, the ones that I’ve thought of since childhood as less deserving, don’t make it out alive. I feel bad about that. In an ideal world, the bugs would all just stay outside.

  3. Hah! I wrote about animal language too. And I think they have a language, and that we can learn a lot of it. We have had cats who also learned words. Dogs learn words and sign language. Hmpf! Snobs.

  4. thank you for getting me in touch
    with my animal nature, JoAnna!
    makes me more curious
    about what the animals said
    to me when i visited the zoo?
    what message did they receive
    from me? caring, i hope 🙂

  5. OH my gosh, I love all the dolphin and whale sounds. That stuff seriously calms me down. Since 1993 when I fell in love with the sounds. Just so good.
    I agree, animals are body language experts. I sometimes just watch them, indoors and out. Watched two robins fight in my tree yesterday, and that was totally new. No idea what that was about, but I think the bigger won, as he kept the branch for almost an hour.
    Great response to the prompt. I enjoyed it muchly. 🙂

    • Thanks, Joey. I’m glad you enjoyed it.:) I was going to be a marine biologist and save the whales for a minute. But I get seasick something awful, so now, I’ll just watch and listen from land. Animals are amazing! Your observations remind me that robins and whales have their own full lives and issues.

  6. Completely with you here! And I personally think the efforts animals put in is incredible compared to us.

  7. Wow, JoAnna. What a beautiful video. I have always said the dolphin is my spirit animal because sitting by the water having dinner one night I remarked that I’d never seen one in the wild. And immediately, one came out of the water, pointed right at me, and dived. The it did a little show for all the diners, diving around in front of the restaurant. Finally it just st swam toward the channel that would lead it back out to sea. I still think it heard me, through some evolved non verbal language. Great post!!!

    • That is a great story! It made my lips smile and my heart tingle. 🙂 Did you blog about it and I missed it? It would make a sweet poem.

      • Yes I did! It was on July 3 , 2016. If. I can’t put the link up cuz I’m on my phone and don’t know how to do it. But I found It by searching “spirit” in my search window. Thanks so much! It was one of those signs I love to get. 😊🌷

  8. Thanks for the nice reminders and discussion about animal communication JoAnna. I’m sure they communicate, but we may not really understand how and why. Though I have seen an interesting video of a woman who seems to communicate and understand messages from animals.

    • Thanks for sharing about the video. I think animals communicate on such a different level, it’s hard for most of us to understand with our usual way of thinking and understanding things.

  9. I also love “The Clan of the Cave Bear” – amazing books

    • Yes, they are! I was just thinking today about how I haven’t finished the last one because I was so hurt by what happens toward the end. Intellectually I understand – it was realistic, but I guess it reminded me of a betrayal that I experienced when I was overly focused on my career. I identified with Ayla.

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