Thu, 26 May 2022


A new study found that dogs can not only distinguish between native and unfamiliar languages, but even when they hear a string of meaningless sentences, they will also recognize it as nonsense. Therefore, dogs are regarded as the first non-primates that can distinguish languages on their own.


The dog's brain can tell the difference between meaningful and non-meaningful words. (Photo via Pexels.com)

New York, NY (Merxwire) - Dogs are the most loyal friends of human beings. Although there is a language barrier, it does not affect the deep feelings between us and dogs, but did you know that your pets can actually understand what their owners say. Besides, they can also tell if what you're saying is nonsense.

Many dog owners have wondered whether the dog in front of them can understand what he is saying. After moving to Hungary, a scientist felt that he needed to adjust and adapt to an unfamiliar environment and language. He wondered if his pet dogs felt the same way. So he asked dogs whose native languages were Spanish and Hungarian to test. It turns out that dogs' brains respond particularly strongly to familiar language.

The origin of the research comes from neuroethicist Laura Cuaya, who has switched from Spanish to Hungarian since she and her pet dog moved to Hungary from Mexico. Curious about whether her dog could tell if people around her were speaking another language, just like humans, she started the research.

As early as 2016, a study confirmed that the language processing center of the dog's brain is very similar to that of humans. It was found that dogs, like humans, use the left brain to process language information, and use the right brain to analyze behind the language. This research was published in "Science" journals.

The way the dog's brain processes language is similar to that of humans, and it can distinguish different languages by the "auditory laws" in the language. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Cuaya and the research team recruited 18 dogs for the experiment, of which 16 had been exposed to Hungarian, while the other 2 were her pet dogs, who had only heard Spanish. During the study, they put earphones on the dogs and listened to a segment of Spanish, Hungarian, and gibberish while conducting brain scans. The results showed that the auditory cortex of the brain was more active when dogs heard their native language and other languages.

Attila Andics, director of the Department of Animal Behavior Research at the University of Budapest, who participated in the study, said that dogs can detect "auditory patterns" in language and then identify whether it is a familiar language, which is similar to that of babies before humans learn to speak. Can automatically differentiate between languages before learning to speak. And the study also shows that older dogs have a stronger ability to distinguish language, presumably because the time of exposure to language is related to the number.

When the owner communicates with the pet, not only the tone of speech is important, but the content is also meaningful to the dog. (Photo via Pixabay.com)

"This is the first non-primate animal to develop language recognition," says Cuaya. She is surprised that the dog's brain can recognize these language differences. Maybe dogs know more about human language than we think!

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