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Re: LUNATIC again

From:Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Date:Sunday, November 8, 1998, 3:15
charles wrote:
> Dolphins remember and perform complex routines > by command. When an ambiguous command is given, > they make metaphorical sense out of it.
"Metaphor", in animal language research, is often a catch-all term. I've heard of "signing apes" which supposedly made jokes - essentially when the ape made the wrong sign, the trainers said it was a pun!
> There have been several other such stories in > the past few years, involving birds and simians. > We just make longer sentences than they do ...
Very debatable. I have not read anything that would make me classify them as languages. To use the most famous example, the "signing apes", many of the teams had no one who knew ASL, or any other sign language, so crudely formed signs were interpreted however the team wanted it - in many cases the exact same motion was interpreted different ways depending on context. Essentially, there nothing more than trained animals, there is no evidence of any creativity, the only sign to make demands (as opposed to humans speaking just to speak). Supposedly they've made compounds, like "water fruit" for a watermelon, but those were so rare that it's most likely co-incidence, as there are many other examples of being faced with new things and not making new words, and examples of senseless combinations. These research teams very rarely make their data public, except for isolated examples, in fact. -- "It has occured to me more than once that holy boredom is good and sufficient reason for the invention of free will." - "Lord Leto II" (Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert) ICQ #: 18656696 AOL screen-name: NikTailor