The Italian Almanac

dolphins

Italian Science - August 25

Dolphins not only communicate in two different languages, they have their own dialect, according to a report by an Italian marine institute. The study by the National Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR) has shown that on a day-to-day basis, dolphins communicate with dialect unique to their own pod.

Dolphins not only communicate in two different languages, they have their own dialect, according to a report by an Italian marine institute. The study by the National Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR) has shown that on a day-to-day basis, dolphins communicate with dialect unique to their own pod.

Those in the first category are instinctive calls and tend to reflect a dolphin's "emotional" response to an external stimulus, such as when it is courting, angry, scared or feels threatened. The second group, including sounds that are far more difficult for dolphins to understand and learn, are used for general communication and are unique to each particular community. This "dialect" links certain perceptions or evocations to a specific combination of sonar signals.

"A shared sonar language is created within the community, an acoustic connection between sounds and images that is understood by everyone in the pod," said Azzali. "However, an understanding of these particular sonar signals can only be learned over time." Just like human toddlers coming to grips with the language spoken by adults, it appears that it takes baby dolphins some years to learn the language used by those around them.