Books on Amazon
|Interpretation||John Dupré Gespräche mit Affen Reflexionen über die wissenschaftliche Erforschung der Sprache in D. Perler/M. Wild (Hg.) Der Geist der Tiere, Frankfurt 2005
Perler I 301
Interpretation/SeboekVsApe language research: three main lines of criticism:
1. Inaccurate observation and/or recording
2. Overinterpretation of the monkey behavior.
3. Unconscious influence ("Kluger Hans effect").
Ad 1. the records of Washoe's behavior are different from the video recordings: e.g. instead of the sign for "you me/me" in reality that for "you me/me you from me".
Ad 2. Overinterpretation: "if we can extract from the confused message, what the monkey tries to say, the monkey can also do that".
The listener always requires a degree of interpretation.
Pro. Chimpanzees usually operate at a high level of excitement.
Interpretation/Dupré: the controversial interpretations of the sign langauge signs of apes require the assumption of a theoretical background, according to which the monkeys try to communicate something.
And that is not undisputed!
It is impossible to ask whether monkeys say anything without assuming at least as a working hypothesis that they are trying to do just that.
Reproducibility/Test/Dupré: the reproducibility that is aimed at is precisely contrary to the hoped-for spontaneity, which is particularly difficult to repeat.
A) language as a set of stereotypes, is supposed to ensure purely causal and semantically innocent manipulation, rather allows repetitions,
B) Creative language is expected to have less repetitions.
Ad 3: The trainer of a monkey spends most of his life (and the life of the monkey) with it. Distance and emotionlessness is simply not to be expected here.
Interpretation/Dupré: there is always a (though not necessarily fatal) circularity.
Symbol use/animal: Monkeys are not able to generalize from a kind of use without elaborate training.
Dupré: obviously, monkeys can learn to use symbols, to refer to absent and announce actions. They can even teach each other symbols.
A dwarf chimpanzee acquired language skills without special training.
Orangutans: gain better results than chimpanzees or gorillas despite a quieter temper in different cognitive tests.
D. Perler/M. Wild (Hg)
Der Geist der Tiere Frankfurt 2005