The apes are being taught to communicate with humans...... - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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The apes are being taught to communicate with humans......

What is the big deal I have been watching the samething on the BWOT for months......


The Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, is home to seven bonobos -- a close relative of the chimpanzee -- and three orangutans. But if you think Iowa might be a strange place for them to live, don't say it out loud … these apes understand English.

Really. No kidding.

Watch John Berman's interview with a bonobo tonight on "World News With Charles Gibson"


You can talk to the apes, and they know what you are saying.

The residents of the Great Ape Trust are part of groundbreaking language research where the apes are being taught to communicate with humans by pressing 350 lexigrams -- symbols that appear on a screen and represent thoughts and objects.

The superstar is 26-year-old Kanzi, whom Bill Fields has been working with for years. To communicate, Fields speaks to Kanzi, who then points to the lexigrams to respond and demonstrate a level of understanding.
"Qualitatively, there is no difference between Kanzi's language and my language," Fields said. "It's a matter of degree."

The key to ensuring they grasp the language, the researchers said, is to start teaching them when they are young, just like you would with human babies.

"Language is culturally acquired. Its not learned," said Fields. "It's acquired in the immediate postnatal antogyny of the organisms life. The only organism capable of learning language are babies."

They've been communicating with bonobos through the keyboard for almost three years, relying on a technique developed in 1971 and also used at the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University and other facilities.

At the Great Ape Trust, researchers said the apes would likely never be able to vocalize words like humans; they are limited by the range of their vocal chords among other things.

However, Fields swears he has heard Kanzi try to say "thank you."


'Surprise' From an Interview With an Ape


When they begin to work with the apes, some pick up the vocabulary quickly while others never acquire the language.

Rob Shumaker has known Azy, a majestic, huge male orangutan, for more than 20 years. He talks to Azy, just like he would speak to one of his children, or a longtime friend.

More of the story at this link.......
ABC News: Amazing Science: Apes 'Talk' to Humans
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 06:46 AM
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^^^^^^
Damn, when I watched that report last night I could have sworn old Charlie Gibbon said that the bonobo was named 'Condi' and I was thinking..........'the shiaat's gonna hit the fan now'.... I'm glad you cleared that up for me.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 06:58 AM
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Big deal we have had them working on the PA systems for the London Underground for years .
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 09:55 AM
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"Language is culturally acquired. Its not learned," said Fields. "It's acquired in the immediate postnatal antogyny of the organisms life. The only organism capable of learning language are babies."
Really.

So how do teens, young adults and adults learn multiple languages? That's certainly not "culturally acquired". That makes me suspect the rest of his experiment and, of course, his conclusions. I think we know more about this "researcher" than we do the apes.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 05-31-2007, 10:02 AM
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Really.

So how do teens, young adults and adults learn multiple languages? That's certainly not "culturally acquired". That makes me suspect the rest of his experiment and, of course, his conclusions. I think we know more about this "researcher" than we do the apes.
Communicating abstract thoughts via tangible language is very different than translating one language into another.

But WTF is "antogyny"?

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