When man was created we are told that Hashem formed man and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life VAYEHI HA’ADAM LENEFESH CHAYAH, the literal translation of which is “…and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2,7) Onkelos in his Aramaic translation, however, gives a different translation. He explains it to mean that Adam became “a soul that speaks”.
This means that Hashem instilled in man a special ability that distinguishes him from animals in that he is able to speak. What is so significant about speech that only man was granted this gift? By being able to speak man can convey his experience to others.
Animals have experiences and they remember them but it is only useful to the individual animal as long as it can remember what happened. Man can convey his experiences to others so they do not have to go through the same experience to know about it. He can hear it from others and proceed accordingly.
This is why man has progressed in his path along civilization. Every generation can learn from the previous one and can build upon it and progress. That is how science and technology have developed. Sometimes what we learn and chooses to accept is the evil and not the good. That brings the misfortunes upon the world. Man must be wise enough to pick the good of other generations and add upon it.