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Critically Evaluate The Claim That Non-Human Primates Can Be Taught To Use Language Essay

  • Submitted by: Japalian
  • on December 11, 2008
  • Category: Psychology
  • Length: 1,980 words

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Below is an essay on "Critically Evaluate The Claim That Non-Human Primates Can Be Taught To Use Language" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Humans have always assumed a fundamental difference between themselves and animals. This fundamental difference is the different use of language. In the past thirty years, this subject has been debated by scientists as they research language use by apes. Claims have been made by some researchers about the linguistic capabilities of their subjects, mostly chimpanzees, these claims have been refuted and supported many times.
Dr Sue Savage – Rumbaugh is a researcher who strongly believes in the ability of primates to use language. Savage – Rumbaugh tried and failed to train a bonobo chimpanzee, Mutata, to use a keyboard of symbols. To the surprise of researchers, Mutata’s adoptive son Kanzi, who accompanied his mother to sessions, began to competently use these keyboard lexicons. He became the first primate to learn aspects of language naturalistically rather than through direct training, but also the first observed bonobo to use some elements of language at all. Kanzi had learnt the ten words that researchers had tried to teach his mother in a short time and has since learnt 200 more. According to Smithsonian magazine (Nov 2006), Kanzi understands 3000 spoken English words and has since learned 348 lexigrams. Other evidence that supports the claim that primates can be taught language is Kanzi’s invention of novel vocalized words, an ability to understand simple grammatical sentences and an ability to understand aspects of spoken language and associate with lexigrams. An example of Kanzi’s ability came in a trip to the Georgia woods where Kanzi touched symbols for ‘marshmallows’ and ‘fire’ and when given matches and marshmallows, he snapped twigs, lit them with the matches then toasted the marshmallows. Kanzi also vocalized the message ‘yoghurt’ to his sister. While sat in a separate room and shown yoghurt, Kanzi vocalized “yoghurt” in an unknown language to his sister who proceeded to touch the lexigram for yoghurt. Kanzi also showed an ability to understand simple...

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Critically Evaluate The Claim That Non-Human Primates Can Be Taught To Use Language. Anti Essays. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from the World Wide Web: http://cassandralynndesignllc.com/free-essays/Critically-Evaluate-Claim-Non-Human-Primates-Can-26578.html