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Monkeys use short calls for converstion: Study

world Updated: Jan 27, 2010 15:07 IST

PTI
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Like humans, monkeys also prefer to keep their conversations brief and for this they use short words, according to a discovery which can shed more light on the origin of human language.

Humans use small words like "a", "of" and "the", that do not take long to speak during a conversation, lead author Dr Stuart Semple from Roehampton University in UK, wrote in the journal Biology Letters.

Pointing out that the relationship between the length of a word and how often it is used is described by the 'law of brevity', Dr Semple said, "The law of brevity states that the words we use very often are very short and the words we use very rarely are long.

"If the words we used most frequently were very long, our conversations would go on forever, because you use them hundreds of times each day," Dr Semple said.

Use of short word "makes communication more efficient and this seems to hold across all languages," he added.
As part of the research, the team studied the communication pattern of Formosan macaque monkeys (Macaca cyclopsis) living on Mount Longevity in Taiwan, the BBC reported.

They observed that macaques use short calls far more often than lengthier vocalisations.