Dolphins and parrots call each other by their names. Fork tailed drongos mimic the calls of other animals to scare them away and then steal their dinner. In the songs of many species of birds, and in skin patterns of squid, we find grammatical structures . . .
If you are lucky, you might meet an animal that wants to talk to you. If you are even luckier, you might meet an animal that takes the time and effort to get to know you. Such relationships can teach us not only about the animal in question, but also about language and about ourselves.
From how prairie dogs describe intruders in detail – including their size, shape, speed and the colour of their hair and T-shirts – to how bats like to gossip, to the impressive greeting rituals of monogamous seabirds, Animal Languages is a fascinating and philosophical exploration of the ways animals communicate with each other, and with us.
Researchers are discovering that animals have rich and complex languages with grammatical and structural rules that allow them to strategise, share advice, give warnings, show love and gossip amongst themselves. Animal Languages will reveal this surprising hidden social life and show you how to talk with the animals.
Eva Meijer is an artist, writer, philosopher and singer-songwriter. She has a PhD in philosophy, taught (animal) philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and is the chair of the Dutch OZSW study group for Animal Ethics, and Minding Animals The Netherlands. She has published both fiction and non-fiction. She lives in the Netherlands.
"A fascinating and accessible new book about how animals communicate"
– Patrick Barkham, Guardian
"Eva Meijer is on a mission to redefine the relationship between humans and animals [...] a bold and progressive vision of a future just beyond the horizon in which humankind gets better at sharing the Earth by simply learning how to listen"
"Fascinating stories and there is much to learn from them [...] Meijer proves that many animals are sophisticated, more intelligent than we may have assumed and often surprising"
"Fascinating [...] offers insight into the methods different species use to communicate with each other"
– Daily Mail