I will try to update and supplement these after each remaining class. Consider
this a moving target up to the last exam. I will try to date each revision on
the primate page itself. I will also be incorporating links as I have time.
Kanzi starring in "Can chimps talk?" See the transcript
in video notes and my comments Note
the following points:
"Pidgins" are based on bits and pieces of languages used by individuals who do
not share a common language. Recall the discussion of the pidgins developed in
the slave colonies in the 17th century in the Language video. Typically they
do not have any syntax and few function words. Utterances are just a few
"content" words --nouns, verbs, modifiers.
reference to mental states, epistemology, modals, etc.
mostly requests, few questions, etc.
little or no evidence of syntax; no complement clauses, etc. Indeed the entire
project, creative aspect of human language (Limber, 1977) seems unique to human
use of human language.
(tree vs savannah chimps responses)
Interspecies communication (apes, dolphins, Alex, dogs and apes. See abstracts
by Limber, Reiss, Pepperberg, and Savage-Rumbaugh, on primate page.)
See course description. All papers (6-8 pages) need an approved outline, at
least 2 references 1994 or later unless Oked by my, and must connect to the
relevant course materials as well as relate to human behavior.
Follows precisely the mDNA story--one small group in Africa were the ancestors
of all humans, maybe 200,000-300,000 years ago. All human languages are
essentially dialects of each other, just as we know the Romance languages
(French, Italian, Spanish, etc.) are dialects descended from the language of
English belongs to this family which includes nearly all European languages and
some northern Indian and Asian dialects as well. IE was spoken around what
today is Turkey and Armenia perhaps 5 to 10,000 years ago --before writing was
invented less than 5000 years ago.
These include the large brain, etc. above, high degree of pair bonding between
M & F, increasingly sophisticated culture where there is a great fitness
advantage in early acquistion of the communication system, and the several
neotenous features characteristic of human evolution. (See Limber, 1982; Gould,
The human brain evolved and incorporated human language into it (the "Baldwin
effect" Limber, 1982; HP).
Human language is a clever compromise with instinctive components dealing with
structure and an "open" component -the lexicon-- enabling new topics to be
immediately discussed with the introduction of new words into the existing
(class, deWaal, Bard, Small, Ackerman/Ellison)
(Gould, Tooby and Devore, HP, TA)
(Novak & Suomi)
It provides the necessary variation for natural selection to work upon--
whether size and shape of the beaks of Darwin's finches or the diversity of
immune systems to protect the species against new strains of bacteria or
viruses. Survival of species lies in variation.