Attempts to teach language to nonhuman species have been unsuccessful; in 15 years of experimentation no nonhuman has acquired a language comparable to human language. This is not entirely a surprise, for even humans who are deficient in language cannot be taught normal human language. When children who do not acquire language in the first place and adults who acquire but then lose language through neurological damage are trained with the same procedures used with the apes, both apes and humans learn a similar system, one in which there is no evidence of grammatical classes, syntactic rules, recursion, structure-dependent rules—properties which set human language apart.
KeywordsAmerican Sign Language Human Language Perceptual Category Grammatical Category Syntactic Rule
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