TALKING TO ANIMALS By/ AreejBaqays
: Talking to animal: There is a lot of spoken language directed by humans to animals, apparently under the impression that the animal follows what is being said.
Riders can say whoa to horses and they stop, we can say Heel to dogs and they will follow at heel, and a variety of circus animals go up, Down and Roll over in accordance with spoken commands. Should we treat these examples as evidence that non-humans can understand human language? Surely not.
. The standard explanation is that the animal produces a particular behavior in response to a particular sound-stimulus or' noise', but does not actually' understand what the words in the noise mean.
If it seems difficult to conceive of animals understanding human language, then it appears to be even less likely that an animal would be capable of producing human language. After all, we do not generally observe animals of one species learning to produce the signals of another species. You could keep your horse in a field of cows for years, but it still won't say MOO.
And, in some homes, a new baby and a puppy may arrive at the same time. Baby and puppy grow up in the same environment, hearing mostly the same things, but about two years later, the baby is making lots of human speech sounds and the puppy is not. But perhaps a puppy is a poor example. Wouldn't it be better to work with a closer relative such as a chimpanzee? The chimpanzee has 99% of its basic genetics in common with the human.
Chimpanzee and LanguageBy:FatenHanbali • In the 1930s two scientists (Lulla and Winthrop Kellogg) reported on their experiences of raising an infant chimpanzee (Gua) with their infant son. The Chimpanzee was reported to be able to understand about a hundred words but didn’t say any of them • In the 1940s another couple raised a chimpanzee (Viki) in their own home as a human child. They spent five years to get Viki say English words by trying to shape her mouth as she produced sounds. Eventually she produces some words rather poorly articulated versions of mama, papa and cup..
Washoe Washoe learned to use American sign language . Washoe was raised like a human child in a comfortable domestic environment. She managed to use signs for more than 100 words (e.g. airplane, banana) and later used them to produce sentences (e.g. gimme tickle) and even invent new signs (water bird=swan). She was also able to hold a conversation in the form of question- answer sequences.
Sarah and Lana • Sarah wastaught to use plastic shapes which represent words to communicate with human. She was trained to associate these shapes with objects and actions.. • Lana was taught Yerkish which consists of a set of symbols on a large keyboard linked to a computer. She had to press four symbols in the correct sequence to produce a message • Both Sarah and Lana demonstrated an ability to use what look like logographic codes and basic structures in ways which superficially resemble the use of language.
NimChimpsky Nim is a chimpanzee who might show that Noam Chomsky is mistaken in his claim that language is an innate ability and unique to the human species. Nim was taught American Sign language under controlled conditions. Over a two-year period, Nim produced a large number of single-word signs, developed tow-word combinations such as more drink and give banana, and used in appropriate circumstances. The initial impression was that Nim. Like Washoe, was developing an ability to use language in much the same way as human children.
Conclusion by Terrace After close inspection of the videotaped records of Nim and Washoe, Terrace argued that both Nim and Washoe only appeared to use signs as language. They were simply producing prompted repetitions of their teachers’ signs. His conclusion was that chimpanzees are clever creatures who learn to produce a certain type of behavior in order to get rewards . Consequently ,their singings is not linguistic behavior at all.
The controversy Terrace argued that the explanation of language-like behavior in animals generally, and of chimpanzees in particular, is related to two phenomena: the unwitting cues provided by human trainers and the conditioned response behavior of animals. The Gardeners, Washoe’s foster parents, rejected Terrace’s argument for many reasons. First, they were not animal trainers. Second, they were not inculcating and then eliciting conditioned responses from Washoe. Third, even in the absence of any human, Washoe could produce signs to identify objects in pictures. Finally, they report that a group of younger chimpanzees not only learned sign language but also used it with each other and with Washoe. Moreover, an infant chimpanzee named Loulis was adopted by Washoe and, without any human training at all, developed a signing vocabulary of more than fifty signs.
Sherman, Austin and Kanzi • Sue Savage-Rumbaugh reported that Sherman and Austin became the first chimpanzees to communicate with each other using printed symbols of Yerkish. • While Savage-Rumbaugh was attempting to teach Matata how to use Yerkish symbols, Kanzi, Matata’s baby, spontaneously started using the symbol system with great ease. He had learned not by being taught but by being exposed to and observing language in use. • By the age of eight, he had become capable, via associations of symbols with spoken words, of understanding spoken English at a level comparable to a two-and-half-year-old human child.
Using Language/The barest rudiments Q1. Were Washoe and Kanzi capable of taking part in interaction by using a symbol system which was chosen by humans and not chimpanzees? The answer is clearly ‘yes’. Q2. Did Washoe and Kanzi perform linguistically on a level comparable to a human child of the same age? The answer is ‘no’. We clearly do not have an objective definition of what counts as ‘using language’. We assume that when a human child makes language-like noises, we witness development of language , but if we see a young chimpanzee makes language-like sings in interaction with humans, it is not classified as language use. However, we might suggest that chimpanzees have obvious capacity to cope with ‘the barest rudiments of language’.