Language is regarded, at least in most intellectual traditions, as the quintessential human attribute, at once evidence and source of most that is considered transcendent in us, distinguishing ours from the merely mechanical nature of the beast. Even if language did not have the sacrosanct status it does in our conception of human nature, however, the question of its presence in other species would still promote argument, for we lack any universally accepted, defining features of language, ones that would allow us to identify it unequivocally ours from other species and contention over the crucial attributes of language are responsible for the stridency of the debate over whether nonhuman animals can learn language. Aping Language is a critical assessment of each of the recent experiments designed to impact a language, either natural or invented, to an ape. The performance of the animals in these experiments is compared with the course of semantic and syntactic development in children, both speaking and signing. The book goes on to examine what is known about the neurological, cognitive, and specifically linguistic attributes of our species that subserve language, and it discusses how they might have come into existence. Finally, the communication of nonhuman primates in nature is assayed to consider whether or not it was reasonable to assume, as the experimenters in these projects did, that apes possess an ability to acquire language.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
History of the apelanguage projects
THE ARTIFICIALLANGUAGE PROJECTS
The Lana project
The Sarah project
APES AND LANGUAGE ONTOGENY
APES AND LANGUAGE PHYLOGENY
ability acoustical acquired American Sign Language analysis angular gyrus animals ape-language projects apes apple attributes behavior Bellugi brain categorical perception child chimpanzee cognitive combinations communication consistent constructions context contrast correct demonstrated discrete signals distinct elements encode English errors evidence evolution example experimenters experiments fact Fouts function Gardners gestures gorilla Gouzoules grammatical handshapes hominids human language indicate inflection interpretation invented involved Kanzi keyboard Koko Koko's Lana Lana's Language Acquisition learned lexigrams limbic system linguistic macaques Marler monkeys morphemes nature Nim's nonhuman object observed origin of language pattern Patterson percent performance phonemes places of articulation Premack presented Press primate production question reference referential regard relationship request response Rumbaugh Sarah Savage-Rumbaugh semantic relations sentence sequence Sherman and Austin sign order signals species speech stimuli strings structure suggests symbols syntactic syntax Terrace tests trainer utterances verb vocabulary vocal Washoe Washoe's word order Yerkish