In the Disney animated classic The Jungle Book, the orangutan King Louie sings:
I wanna be a man, mancub, And stroll right into town, And be just like the other men, I'm tired of monkeyin' around!
Oh, oobee doo, I wanna be like you, I wanna walk like you, Talk like you, too! You’ll see it’s true, An ape like me, Can learn to be human too.
Tilda, an orangutan from Borneo in 1965 and now residing at Cologne Zoo in Germany, seems to be on the way to realizing King Louie's dream. At least she's livin' the dream for researchers seeking to unravel the evolutionary origins of human speech!
Only human beings speak. The syllables and words, phrases and sentences people use to speak their minds all over the world consist of rhythmic sequences of consonants and vowels. Consonants and vowels are the building blocks of speech. Despite their remarkable variety, all spoken languages rely on our ability to rapidly produce sequences of consonant and vowel sounds—typically 3–8 times per second. Only humans have shown the ability to ascribe symbolic meaning to these sequences of sounds, to use those sounds to express creative thoughts, and to communicate those thoughts with other humans.
[Read the rest of the article at Answers in Genesis.]