Monkey grammar

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 11 04:58:05 UTC 2009

One time, I came home from class to discover the house kitten freaking
out. I couldn't figure out what in the world was bothering the kitty.
Finally, it made motions on the floor with its forepaws, as though
burying excrement. It turned out that some careless roommate had
inadvertently shut the door to the service porch, where its litterbox
was located.

FWIW, if a kitten can spontaneously sign, "Need to take a dump!", then
the fact that a primate can do something that could be said to have
some connection with grammar no longer surprises me.


On Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 2:19 AM, Dennis Baron<debaron at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Dennis Baron <debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Monkey grammar
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> There's a new post on the Web of Language:
> Monkey grammar
> A team of Harvard psychologists has proved that monkeys can tell the =20
> difference between a banana and a nabama.
> Â Well, maybe not exactly banana and nabama. After all, monkeys can=92t =20=
> talk. Even though a few chimps learned to sign, they=92re hopeless at =20=
> grammar and possess nothing even remotely resembling human language. =20
> Plus, three-syllable banana is a pretty long word for any primate. But =20=
> 14 tamarins did notice when researchers switched the order of the =20
> sounds in a series of two-syllable nonsense words.
> Find out the significance of this research --- read the rest of the =20
> post on the Web of Language: Â
> ____________________
> Dennis Baron
> Professor of English and Linguistics
> Department of English
> University of Illinois
> 608 S. Wright St.
> Urbana, IL 61801
> office: 217-244-0568
> fax: 217-333-4321
> read the Web of Language:
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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