Lexical creation by signing apes

Ronald Kephart rkephart at unf.edu
Mon May 14 16:52:03 UTC 2001

At 6:02 PM +0200 5/14/01, Celso Álvarez Cáccamo wrote:

>...But /thumb - 'eyebrow'/ and /thumb - 'lettuce'/ are not
>homographous either, as signing is not writing. So, they are homo...


>... But what struck me, precisely, is that a potentially important
>fact as this one was not discussed.

Yeah, this drives me crazy too, sometimes. I recall an old bit of
film about one of the chimps using pieces of plastic for "words,"
accompanied by a lot of blather from the researcher about not being
able to ask the chimp what a noun is, or what the subject of the
sentence she just constructed is, and so on and on... (has anyone
tried these on a university student lately?). But no mention of the
fact that the pieces of plastic she was using were *symbols*, surely
the most interesting aspect of what was going on.

Ronald Kephart
Program in Foreign Languages
University of North Florida

More information about the Linganth mailing list