Animal Languages

Animal Languages - Michael Whitehouse October 11, 2007...

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Michael Whitehouse October 11, 2007 Animal Language Learning Ability Studies have shown over the course of time that although animals can obtain an extensive vocabulary, they do not have syntax and therefore are not able to make new sentences. Some animals including parrots, will imitate the sounds that they hear and may even repeat a 2-3-word sentence. This however does not prove that these animals have learned the English language; they have simply mastered the art of imitation. Linguists agree that in order to learn a language, one must learn the proper grammar of the language, and be able to produce new sentences with the unlimited number of words that are available. An animal, while it may be able to recognize sounds or even many words very well, cannot develop sentences higher than a few 2-word utterances. Terrace’s studies with Nim the chimpanzee were extremely convincing (1979). Terrace went into the experiment with an open mind and attempting to prove that
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course LING 100 taught by Professor Siraj during the Fall '08 term at UMass (Amherst).

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Animal Languages - Michael Whitehouse October 11, 2007...

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