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Great Ape language

Great Ape language

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Research into non-human great ape language has involved teaching chimpanzee
Chimpanzee
Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitat of the two species:...

s, bonobo
Bonobo
The bonobo , Pan paniscus, previously called the pygmy chimpanzee and less often, the dwarf or gracile chimpanzee, is a great ape and one of the two species making up the genus Pan. The other species in genus Pan is Pan troglodytes, or the common chimpanzee...

s, gorilla
Gorilla
Gorillas are the largest extant species of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and either four or five subspecies...

s, and orangutan
Orangutan
Orangutans are the only exclusively Asian genus of extant great ape. The largest living arboreal animals, they have proportionally longer arms than the other, more terrestrial, great apes. They are among the most intelligent primates and use a variety of sophisticated tools, also making sleeping...

s to communicate with human beings and with each other using sign language
Sign language
A sign language is a language which, instead of acoustically conveyed sound patterns, uses visually transmitted sign patterns to convey meaning—simultaneously combining hand shapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to fluidly express a speaker's...

, physical tokens, and lexigrams; see Yerkish
Yerkish
Yerkish is an artificial language developed for use by non-human primates. It employs a keyboard whose keys contain lexigrams, symbols corresponding to objects or ideas....

. Some primatologists
Primatology
Primatology is the scientific study of primates. It is a diverse discipline and researchers can be found in academic departments of anatomy, anthropology, biology, medicine, psychology, veterinary sciences and zoology, as well as in animal sanctuaries, biomedical research facilities, museums and zoos...

 argue that the primates' use of these tools indicates their ability to use "language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

", although this is not consistent with some definitions of that term.

Questions in animal language research


Animal language
Animal language
Animal language is the modeling of human language in non human animal systems. While the term is widely used, researchers agree that animal languages are not as complex or expressive as human language....

 research attempts to answer the following questions:
  • What problems can animals solve without language, and can they solve them better after they have received language training?
  • Can the lessons learned in teaching animals be applied to human children?
  • How, and how much, do animals' abilities to learn language differ from those of humans?
  • Are the abilities that underlie language general or highly specialized?
  • Where is the line between language and other forms of communication?

Apes that demonstrate understanding


Non-human animals have been recorded to have produced behaviors that are consistent with meanings accorded to human sentence productions. (A production is a stream
Stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

 of lexeme
Lexeme
A lexeme is an abstract unit of morphological analysis in linguistics, that roughly corresponds to a set of forms taken by a single word. For example, in the English language, run, runs, ran and running are forms of the same lexeme, conventionally written as RUN...

s with semantic content. A language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 is grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

 and a set of lexemes. A sentence
Sentence (linguistics)
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

, or statement
Sentence (linguistics)
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

, is a stream of lexemes that obeys a grammar, with a beginning and an end.) Some animals in the following species can be said to "understand" (receive), and some can "apply" (produce) consistent, appropriate, grammatical streams of communication. David Premack
David Premack
David Premack is currently emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He was educated at the University of Minnesota when logical positivism was in full bloom. The departments of Psychology and Philosophy were closely allied...

 and Jacques Vauclair have cited language research for the following animals:
  • Common Chimpanzee
    Common Chimpanzee
    The common chimpanzee , also known as the robust chimpanzee, is a great ape. Colloquially, the common chimpanzee is often called the chimpanzee , though technically this term refers to both species in the genus Pan: the common chimpanzee and the closely related bonobo, formerly called the pygmy...

    s
  • Bonobo
    Bonobo
    The bonobo , Pan paniscus, previously called the pygmy chimpanzee and less often, the dwarf or gracile chimpanzee, is a great ape and one of the two species making up the genus Pan. The other species in genus Pan is Pan troglodytes, or the common chimpanzee...

    s
  • Gorilla
    Gorilla
    Gorillas are the largest extant species of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and either four or five subspecies...

    s
  • Orangutan
    Orangutan
    Orangutans are the only exclusively Asian genus of extant great ape. The largest living arboreal animals, they have proportionally longer arms than the other, more terrestrial, great apes. They are among the most intelligent primates and use a variety of sophisticated tools, also making sleeping...

    s

Primate use of sign language


Sign language and computer keyboards are used in primate language research because non-human primate vocal cords cannot close fully, and they have less control of the tongue and lower jaw
Manner of articulation
In linguistics, manner of articulation describes how the tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs are involved in making a sound. Often the concept is only used for the production of consonants, even though the movement of the articulars will also greatly alter the resonant properties of the...

. However, primates do possess the manual dexterity required for keyboard operation.

Many researchers into animal language have presented the results of the studies described below as evidence of linguistic abilities in animals. Many of their conclusions have been disputed.

It is now generally accepted that Apes can learn to sign and are able to communicate with humans. However, it is disputed as to whether they can form syntax to manipulate such signs.

Washoe


Washoe
Washoe (chimpanzee)
Washoe was a chimpanzee who was the first non-human to learn to communicate using American Sign Language, as part of a research experiment on animal language acquisition....

, a Common Chimpanzee
Common Chimpanzee
The common chimpanzee , also known as the robust chimpanzee, is a great ape. Colloquially, the common chimpanzee is often called the chimpanzee , though technically this term refers to both species in the genus Pan: the common chimpanzee and the closely related bonobo, formerly called the pygmy...

, was caught in the wild in 1966. When she was about ten months old, she was received by the husband-and-wife research team of Beatrix T. Gardner and R. Allen Gardner. Chimpanzees are completely dependent until two years of age and semi-dependent until the age of four. Full adult growth is reached between 12 and 16 years of age. So the Gardners received her at a good age for research into language development. The Gardners tried to make Washoe's environment as similar as possible to what a human infant with deaf parents would experience. There was always a researcher or assistant in attendance during Washoe's waking hours. Every researcher communicated with Washoe by using American Sign Language
American Sign Language
American Sign Language, or ASL, for a time also called Ameslan, is the dominant sign language of Deaf Americans, including deaf communities in the United States, in the English-speaking parts of Canada, and in some regions of Mexico...

 (ASL), minimizing the use of the spoken voice. The researchers acted as friends and companions to Washoe, using various games to make the learning as exciting as possible.

The Gardners used many different training methods:
  • Imitation: After Washoe had learned a couple of words, she started, like chimpanzees usually do, to imitate naturally. For example, when she entered the Gardners' bathroom, she spontaneously made the sign for "toothbrush", simply because she saw one.
  • Babbling: In this case, "babbling" does not mean vocal babbling. Instead, Washoe used untaught signs to express a desire. She used a begging gesture, which was not much different from the ASL signs "give me" and "come." (Human infants who are learning sign language often babble with their hands.)
  • Instrumental Conditioning: The researchers used instrumental conditioning strategies with Washoe. For example, they taught the word "more" by using tickling as a reward. This technique was later applied to a variety of relevant situations.


The results of the Gardners' efforts were as follows:
  • Vocabulary: When a sign was reported by three independent observers, it was added to a checklist. The sign had to occur in an appropriate context and without prompting. The checklist was used to record the frequency of a sign. A sign had to be used at least once a day for 15 consecutive days before it was deemed to have been acquired. Alternatively, a sign had to be used at least 15 days out of 30 consecutive days. By the end of the 22nd month of the project, thirty-four signs had been learned.
  • Differentiation: Washoe used the sign "more" in many different situations until a more specific sign had been learned. At one point, she used the sign for "flower" to express the idea of "smell." After additional training, Washoe was eventually able to differentiate between "smell" and "flower."
  • Transfer: Although the same object was presented for each learning trial (a specific hat, for example), Washoe was able to use the sign for other similar objects (e.g. other hats).
  • Combinations: Washoe was able to combine two or three signs in an original way. For example, "open food drink" meant "open the fridge" and "please open hurry" meant "please open it quickly."

Nim Chimpsky


Linguistic critics challenged the animal trainers to demonstrate that Washoe was actually using language and not symbols. The null hypothesis
Null hypothesis
The practice of science involves formulating and testing hypotheses, assertions that are capable of being proven false using a test of observed data. The null hypothesis typically corresponds to a general or default position...

 was that the Gardners were using conditioning to teach the chimpanzee to use hand formations in certain contexts to create desirable outcomes, and that they had not learned the same linguistic rules that humans innately learn.

In response to this challenge, the chimpanzee Nim Chimpsky
Nim Chimpsky
Nim Chimpsky was a chimpanzee who was the subject of an extended study of animal language acquisition at Columbia University, led by Herbert S. Terrace....

 was taught to communicate using sign language in studies led by Herbert S. Terrace. In 44 months, Nim Chimpsky learned 125 signs. However, linguistic analysis of Nim's communications demonstrated that Nim's use was symbolic, and lacked grammar, or rules, of the kind that humans use in communicating via language. This constitutes a chimpanzee vocabulary learning rate of roughly 0.1 words per day. This rate is not comparable to the average college-educated English-speaking human who learns roughly 14 words per day between ages 2 and 22.

Sign Language in the Wild


A two-year study by researchers from the University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews, informally referred to as "St Andrews", is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The university is situated in the town of St Andrews, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It was founded between...

 of chimpanzees at Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

, concluded that this wild group make use of at least 66 distinct gestures to facilitate communication.

Plastic tokens


Sarah
Sarah (chimpanzee)
Sarah is an enculturated research chimpanzee whose cognitive skills are documented in The Mind of an Ape, by David Premack and Ann James Premack . Sarah was one of nine chimpanzees in David Premack's psychology laboratory in Pennsylvania. Sarah was born in Africa in 1962. She first worked in...

 and two other chimpanzees, Elizabeth and Peony, in the research programs of David Premack
David Premack
David Premack is currently emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He was educated at the University of Minnesota when logical positivism was in full bloom. The departments of Psychology and Philosophy were closely allied...

, demonstrated the ability to produce grammatical streams of token selections. The selections came from a vocabulary of several dozen plastic tokens; it took each of the chimpanzees hundreds of trials to reliably associate a token with a referent, such as an apple or banana. The tokens were chosen to be completely different in appearance from the referents. After learning these protocols, Sarah was then able to associate other tokens with consistent behaviors, such as negation, name-of, and if-then. The plastic tokens were placed on a magnetic slate, within a rectangular frame in a line. The tokens had to be selected and placed in a consistent order (a grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

) in order for the trainers to reward the chimpanzees.

One other chimpanzee, Gussie, was trained along with Sarah but failed to learn a single word. Other chimpanzees in the projects were not trained in the use of the tokens. All nine of the chimpanzees could understand gestures, such as supplication
Supplication
Supplication is the most common form of prayer, wherein a person asks God to provide something, either for the person or who is doing the praying or for someone else on whose behalf a prayer. This because of a supplication is being made, also known as intercession.The concept of supplication is...

 when asking for food; similarly, all nine could point to indicate some object, a gesture which is not seen in the wild. The supplication
Supplication
Supplication is the most common form of prayer, wherein a person asks God to provide something, either for the person or who is doing the praying or for someone else on whose behalf a prayer. This because of a supplication is being made, also known as intercession.The concept of supplication is...

 is seen in the wild, as a form of communication with other chimpanzees.

A juvenile Sumatran orangutan Aazk (named after the American Association of Zookeepers) who lived at the Roeding Park Zoo (Fresno, California) was taught by Gary L. Shapiro from 1973 to 1975 how to "read & write" with plastic children's letters, following the training techniques of David Premack. The technique of conditional discrimination was used such that the orangutan could eventually distinguish plastic letter (symbols) as representations of referents (e.g., object, actions) and "read" an increasingly longer series of symbols to obtain a referent (e.g., fruit) or "write" an increasingly longer series of symbols to request or describe a referent. While no claim of linguistic competence was made, Aazk's performance demonstrated design features of language, many similar to those demonstrated by Premack's chimpanzee, Sarah.

Kanzi


Kanzi
Kanzi
Kanzi , also known by the lexigram , is a male bonobo who has been featured in several studies on great ape language. According to Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, a primatologist who has studied the bonobo throughout her life, Kanzi has exhibited advanced linguistic aptitude.- Biography :Born to Lorel and...

, a Bonobo
Bonobo
The bonobo , Pan paniscus, previously called the pygmy chimpanzee and less often, the dwarf or gracile chimpanzee, is a great ape and one of the two species making up the genus Pan. The other species in genus Pan is Pan troglodytes, or the common chimpanzee...

, is believed to understand more human language than any other nonhuman animal in the world. Kanzi apparently learned by eavesdropping on the keyboard lessons researcher Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh , also known by the lexigram , is a primatologist most known for her work with two bonobos, Kanzi and Panbanisha, investigating their use of "Great Ape language" using lexigrams and computer-based keyboards...

 was giving to her adoptive mother. Kanzi learned to communicate with a Lexigram board, pushing symbols that stand for words. The board is wired to a computer, so the word is then vocalized out loud by the computer. This helps Kanzi develop his vocabulary and enables him to communicate with researchers.

One day, Rumbaugh used the computer to say to Kanzi, "Can you make the dog bite the snake?" It is believed Kanzi had never heard this sentence before. In answering the question, Kanzi searched among the objects present until he found a toy dog and a toy snake, put the snake in the dog's mouth, and used his thumb and finger to close the dog's mouth over the snake. In 2001, Alexander Fiske-Harrison
Alexander Fiske-Harrison
Alexander Rupert Fiske-Harrison is an English writer and actor. He is best known for writing and acting in The Pendulum in London's West End and for his research into bullfighting for his book Into The Arena, which has led The Times to describe him as "the bullfighter-philosopher." Into The Arena...

, writing in the Financial Times
Financial Times
The Financial Times is an international business newspaper. It is a morning daily newspaper published in London and printed in 24 cities around the world. Its primary rival is the Wall Street Journal, published in New York City....

, observed that Kanzi was "asked by an invisible interrogator through head-phones (to avoid cueing) to identify 35 different items in 180 trials. His success rate was 93 per cent." In further testing, beginning when he was 7 ½ years old, Kanzi was asked 416 complex questions, responding correctly over 74% of the time. Kanzi has been observed verbalizing a meaningful noun to his sister.

Criticisms of primate language research


Some scientist
Scientist
A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science. This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word...

s, including MIT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 linguist
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 and cognitive scientist
Cognitive science
Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of mind and its processes. It examines what cognition is, what it does and how it works. It includes research on how information is processed , represented, and transformed in behaviour, nervous system or machine...

 Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker
Steven Arthur Pinker is a Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author...

, are skeptical about claims made for great ape language research. Among the reasons for skepticism are the differences in ease with which human beings and apes can learn language; there are also questions of whether there is a clear beginning and end to the signed gestures and whether the apes actually understand language or are simply doing a clever trick
Illusion
An illusion is a distortion of the senses, revealing how the brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation. While illusions distort reality, they are generally shared by most people....

 for a reward.

While vocabulary words from American Sign Language
American Sign Language
American Sign Language, or ASL, for a time also called Ameslan, is the dominant sign language of Deaf Americans, including deaf communities in the United States, in the English-speaking parts of Canada, and in some regions of Mexico...

 are used to train the apes, native users of ASL note that mere knowledge of ASL's vocabulary does not equate to ASL, but more closely reflects Pidgin
Pidgin
A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the...

 Signed English which is not a full-fledged language. In the research involving Washoe
Washoe
Washoe or washo could refer to:*Washoe -- a chimpanzee that was taught by humans to speak in American Sign Language*Before it was made a Territory, Nevada was popularly known as Washoe*Washoe County, Nevada*Washoe Lake - lake in Nevada...

, all researchers returned lists of signs Washoe used, with the exception of the one deaf native ASL user who reported no signs but many gestures. Native users of ASL make clear distinctions about what handshapes, palm orientations, and places of articulation signs must have to constitute linguistic activity. Signs must also be used combinatorially and in the correct grammatical sequence. Thus, apes are seen as attempting to approximate these complex rules but are considered to be failing because of such malformations in the production of ASL signs. A precondition for a successful experiment with teaching a true sign language to primates ought to be ensuring that the main contact persons are all native speakers of the sign language, as it is otherwise analagous to trying to raise a human child as a speaker of a language to which you possess only a dictionary -- with mispronunciations and worst of all giving only a pidgin model.

Great ape language in fiction


Fantasy writer Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.-Biography:...

 invented a fictitious great ape language called Mangani
Mangani
Mangani is the name of a fictional species of great apes in the Tarzan novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and of the invented language used by these apes. In the invented language, Mangani is the apes' word for their own kind, although the term is also applied to humans...

 in his Tarzan
Tarzan
Tarzan is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani "great apes"; he later experiences civilization only to largely reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer...

 books. This imagined language included such words as Kreegah! ("Beware!") and Tarmangani ("Great White Ape"). These words and others are sometimes used by cartoonists, and for facetious slang. (See Kreegah bundolo).

Writer Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton
John Michael Crichton , best known as Michael Crichton, was an American best-selling author, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted...

 used the concept of great ape language in his 1980 novel Congo
Congo (novel)
Congo is a 1980 science fiction novel by Michael Crichton. The novel centers on an expedition searching for diamonds and inspecting the mysterious deaths of the previous expedition in the dense rain forest of Congo...

, in which a fictional gorilla named Amy communicates extensively with her keeper using ASL. This is also shown in the movie Congo
Congo (film)
Congo is a 1995 action adventure film, based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. It was directed by Frank Marshall and stars Laura Linney, Dylan Walsh, Tim Curry, Ernie Hudson, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Grant Heslov, and Joe Don Baker. The film was released on June 9, 1995 by...

.

The X-Files has an episode titled Fearful Symmetry
Fearful Symmetry (The X-Files)
"Fearful Symmetry" is the eighteenth episode of the second season of the science fiction television series The X-Files. It aired on Fox on February 24, 1995. The episode won an EMA Award for its environmental message.-Plot:...

 in which a gorilla named Sophie communicates extensively with humans via sign language.

The 1987 film Project X, starring Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick is an American film and stage actor who, among other roles, played the title character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Adult Simba in The Lion King film series, and Leo Bloom in the film and Broadway productions of The Producers.He has won two Tony Awards, one in 1983 for his...

, had Chimpanzee
Chimpanzee
Chimpanzee, sometimes colloquially chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of ape in the genus Pan. The Congo River forms the boundary between the native habitat of the two species:...

 use of American Sign Language
American Sign Language
American Sign Language, or ASL, for a time also called Ameslan, is the dominant sign language of Deaf Americans, including deaf communities in the United States, in the English-speaking parts of Canada, and in some regions of Mexico...

 as an important part of the plot.

The 2011 film Rise of the Planet of the Apes depicts apes using sign language to communicate with humans and with each other. Though the apes' brains have been enhanced in the film, there is an orangutan shown to use sign language prior to any enhancement.

See also


  • Animal cognition
    Animal cognition
    Animal cognition is the title given to the study of the mental capacities of non-human animals. It has developed out of comparative psychology, but has also been strongly influenced by the approach of ethology, behavioral ecology, and evolutionary psychology...

  • Animal communication
    Animal communication
    Animal communication is any behavior on the part of one animal that has an effect on the current or future behaviour of another animal. The study of animal communication, is sometimes called Zoosemiotics has played an important part in the...

  • Animal language
    Animal language
    Animal language is the modeling of human language in non human animal systems. While the term is widely used, researchers agree that animal languages are not as complex or expressive as human language....

  • Animal training
    Animal training
    Animal training refers to teaching animals specific responses to specific conditions or stimuli. Training may be for the purpose of companionship, detection, protection, entertainment or all of the above....

  • Human-animal communication
    Human-animal communication
    Human–animal communication is the communication observed between humans and other animals, from non-verbal cues and vocalizations through to, potentially, the use of a sophisticated language.-Introduction:...

  • Kreegah bundolo
  • Language
    Language
    Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

     – as it pertains to humans
  • Language acquisition
    Language acquisition
    Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate. This capacity involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics, and an extensive vocabulary. This language might be vocal as with...

  • Operant conditioning
    Operant conditioning
    Operant conditioning is a form of psychological learning during which an individual modifies the occurrence and form of its own behavior due to the association of the behavior with a stimulus...

  • Origin of language
    Origin of language
    The origin of language is the emergence of language in the human species. This is a highly controversial topic. Empirical evidence is so limited that many regard it as unsuitable for serious scholars. In 1866, the Linguistic Society of Paris went so far as to ban debates on the subject...

  • Primate cognition
    Primate cognition
    Primate cognition is the study of the cognitive abilities of non-human primates. Humans are also primates but, traditionally, humans have been thought to be different from other animals...

  • Proto-language (glottogony)
  • Theory of mind
    Theory of mind
    Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own...

  • Yerkish
    Yerkish
    Yerkish is an artificial language developed for use by non-human primates. It employs a keyboard whose keys contain lexigrams, symbols corresponding to objects or ideas....



Researchers


  • Roger Fouts
    Roger Fouts
    Roger S. Fouts is an American primate researcher. He is co-director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute in Washington, and a professor of psychology at the Central Washington University...

  • David Premack
    David Premack
    David Premack is currently emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He was educated at the University of Minnesota when logical positivism was in full bloom. The departments of Psychology and Philosophy were closely allied...

  • Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
    Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
    Sue Savage-Rumbaugh , also known by the lexigram , is a primatologist most known for her work with two bonobos, Kanzi and Panbanisha, investigating their use of "Great Ape language" using lexigrams and computer-based keyboards...



Animals


  • Ai (chimpanzee)
    Ai (chimpanzee)
    Ai is a female chimpanzee currently living at the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University . She is known for being the principal subject of the Ai project, a research program started in 1978 which is aimed at understanding chimpanzee cognition through computer interface experiments...

  • Chantek
    Chantek
    Chantek is a male orangutan raised by anthropologist Lyn Miles at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.-See also:* Abang * Great ape language...

     (orangutan)
  • Kanzi
    Kanzi
    Kanzi , also known by the lexigram , is a male bonobo who has been featured in several studies on great ape language. According to Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, a primatologist who has studied the bonobo throughout her life, Kanzi has exhibited advanced linguistic aptitude.- Biography :Born to Lorel and...

     (Bonobo)
  • Lana (chimpanzee)
    Lana (chimpanzee)
    Lana is a female chimpanzee, the first to be used in language research using lexigrams. She was born at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University, and the project she was allocated to when 1 year old, the LANguage Analogue project led by Duane Rumbaugh, was named after her...

  • Koko (gorilla)
    Koko (gorilla)
    Koko is a female western lowland gorilla who, according to Francine "Penny" Patterson, is able to understand more than 1,000 signs based on American Sign Language, and understand approximately 2,000 words of spoken English....

  • Lucy Temerlin
    Lucy Temerlin
    Lucy Temerlin was a chimpanzee owned by the Institute for Primate Studies in Oklahoma, and raised by Maurice K. Temerlin, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and professor at the University of Oklahoma and his wife, Jane W...

     (chimpanzee)
  • Nim Chimpsky
    Nim Chimpsky
    Nim Chimpsky was a chimpanzee who was the subject of an extended study of animal language acquisition at Columbia University, led by Herbert S. Terrace....

     (chimpanzee)
  • Panzee and Panbanisha
    Panzee and Panbanisha
    Panpanzee, often called "Panzee", and Panbanisha, also known by the lexigram , are two apes with whom research is being carried out in the United States. Panzee lives at the Language Research Center at Georgia State University and Panbanisha lives at the Great Ape Trust in Iowa...

     (chimpanzee and bonobo)
  • Sarah (chimpanzee)
    Sarah (chimpanzee)
    Sarah is an enculturated research chimpanzee whose cognitive skills are documented in The Mind of an Ape, by David Premack and Ann James Premack . Sarah was one of nine chimpanzees in David Premack's psychology laboratory in Pennsylvania. Sarah was born in Africa in 1962. She first worked in...

  • Washoe (chimpanzee)
    Washoe (chimpanzee)
    Washoe was a chimpanzee who was the first non-human to learn to communicate using American Sign Language, as part of a research experiment on animal language acquisition....

  • Rinnie (orangutan)
  • Viki (chimpanzee)


External links

  • GaTech.edu – "Animal Communication" (from the book Language Files, Sixth Edition), editors: Stefanie Jannedy, Robert Poletto, Tracey L. Weldon, Department of Linguistics Ohio State University
    Ohio State University
    The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...

     (1994)
  • Great Ape Trust - "Use of Human Languages by Captive Great Apes" from the book World Atlas of Great Apes and Their Conservation by Duane Rumbaugh, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
    Sue Savage-Rumbaugh
    Sue Savage-Rumbaugh , also known by the lexigram , is a primatologist most known for her work with two bonobos, Kanzi and Panbanisha, investigating their use of "Great Ape language" using lexigrams and computer-based keyboards...

    and William Fields (2005)
  • Thailand tree apes use song as warning