Is Problem-Solving Language?
Opinion has shifted during the last decade about the ability of chimpanzees to learn language. Recent projects have reversed earlier failures to establish communication between man and chimpanzee by bypassing the troublesome (for chimpanzees) vocal medium of language. Nevertheless, just what a chimpanzee can learn about language remains controversial. Through the media of American Sign Language (e.g., Gardner amp; Gardner 1969) and the artificial visual languages invented by Premack (1970a) and by Rumbaugh and Glasersfeld (1973), chimpanzees have been taught to produce and comprehend far greater vocabularies than were thought possible following the unsuccessful attempts of the Hayeses (1951), the Kelloggs [1933 (1967); this volume], and others to communicate with chimpanzees via vocal languages. What is at issue is whether a chimpanzee can master relationships between words—in particular, relationships as expressed in sentences.
KeywordsCausal Inference American Sign Nonsense Word Termite Mound Comprehension Problem
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