I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard any of my furry family use my human name. They’ve never used the name I’ve given them to each other, or when introducing themselves, either. (I don’t have any birds that speak, perhaps they do use human speech)
I realise that part of this is the shape of their mouths, they just don’t use human speech. Which of course begs the question, how do they identify each other and themselves?
How does one of my cats tell the others that Tortuga is grumpy today, probably best to leave her alone? How does one dog tell the other that the door is blocked by that same grumpy Tortuga, and thus nobody is going through that doorway without clearance from the human, ie, me?
I know they have a symbol/smell/image/thought pattern which signifies me, because they’ve “called” my using it. You know, those times when you wake up knowing you’re wanted? Sometimes, you also wake knowing the specific task you’re required to do, such as shut the window, the rain’s coming in. So, to hopefully lessen confusion, let’s call an animal symbol/smell/image/thought pattern a “(name)”.
Animals must also use these (names) for places… for example “don’t go (over there) because there are prickles and they’ll get in your feet”. So how do they use these (names)? Smell might be it – they do use smell to define territory after all – but can they then alter or change their own smell in order to project the scent of another animal? Personally I doubt it, or at the very least, it’s severely limited, or hunting animals would go around mimicking prey animals’ smell and the prey would be wiped out.
It might be body language – series of ear twitches, nose wrinkles and tail flicks perhaps? That would seem to indicate a common language throughout all the species of animals except humans, and again, what about animals whom they’ve never met, or places, or objects?
An image, incorporating scent, sound and actual picture, placed directly into the brain of the other animal makes the most sense to me. That way, “Tortuga” would be a collective image of “grumpy cat who growls and swears a lot and looks like [this]” and maybe some notes about smell. That would also get around the species identification, as the image would take care of that.
So, when communicating with each other, there are probably images included. Which is a universal, non-species specific language, which we humans can be a part of… we’ve just forgotten how.