Language is often pointed to as the hallmark of the human species. This assertion has had many proponents into the twentieth century and it is widely held that humans differ markedly from animals in their use of language. In the past thirty years, this assertion has been the subject of many debates as scientists have researched capacity of sign language acquisition by apes. Incredible claims have been made by some researchers about the linguistic capabilities of their subjects, mostly chimpanzees. These claims have been refuted and counter-refuted many times, and the literature on the subject is extensive. Currently, there is no general consensus on the ability of non-human primates to acquire language.
A discussion of the value and validity of ape language research.
Article by George Johnson in the New York Times in which he outlines varying views on ape communication.
The Gorilla Foundation brings interspecies communication to the public through Koko, famous for her sign language skills.
An overview written by Dave Switzer that features a summaries of multiple research projects. Also offers primate glossary.
General commentary on ape language with transcripts of chats with apes and interviews with ape language researchers.
Primate research center studying language acquisition through work with bonobos and chimpanzees. Features a list of publications and ape biographies.
This project is part of a theoretical course on Syntax and Grammatical Theories taught by Prof. Dirk Geeraerts at K.U.Leuven.
Chimpanzee language research projects at Kyoto University. News, pictures and biographies of chimpanzee subjects as well as researchers.
A cognitive model of Chantek, a signing orangutan, for an installation at Zoo Atlanta.
Cecil Adams' research column on the divided scientific opinions about apes and language.
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