In various epochs, the peculiarities of human language were described in comparison with sounds made by animals. Such recourse to animals deserves special analysis, since, in essence, it is directed at a better understanding of man and human language. All the thoughts expressed in connection with this are equally important, as landmarks in the history of ideas, irrespective of the fact whether they had followers or remained as author’s original concepts. The man-animal paradigm, studied in the context of language, undergoes significant changes with the passage of time. In antiquity and in the Middle Ages a hierarchical attitude with the prior role of the man was established. In the modern era, alongside with the traditional interpretation, a version of correlation emerges: the talking bird and the man are placed on the same rank in the story about a cognitive parrot mentioned by Locke. In the beginning of the 20th century Vossler goes even further. Creative ability serves as an evaluation criterion for him; proceeding from this he observes in man features characteristic of the parrot. However, in the structure of man conceived this way, the hierarchy of antique-medieval model is observed again.
Keywords: articulate sound, man, animal, hierarchy, consciousness, imitation, creative.