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.

Related categories 3

Are Nonhuman Species Capable of Language Acquisition?
A discussion of the value and validity of ape language research.
Chimp Talk Debate: Is it Really Language?
Article by George Johnson in the New York Times in which he outlines varying views on ape communication.
Koko the Gorilla
The Gorilla Foundation brings interspecies communication to the public through Koko, famous for her sign language skills.
Language in Apes: How Much Do They Know and How Much Should We Teach Them
An overview written by Dave Switzer that features a summaries of multiple research projects. Also offers primate glossary.
Language in Child and Chimp?
General commentary on ape language with transcripts of chats with apes and interviews with ape language researchers.
Language Research Center
Primate research center studying language acquisition through work with bonobos and chimpanzees. Features a list of publications and ape biographies.
Non-Human Primates and Language
This project is part of a theoretical course on Syntax and Grammatical Theories taught by Prof. Dirk Geeraerts at K.U.Leuven.
Primate Research Institute: Section of Language and Intelligence
Chimpanzee language research projects at Kyoto University. News, pictures and biographies of chimpanzee subjects as well as researchers.
The Primatech Project
A cognitive model of Chantek, a signing orangutan, for an installation at Zoo Atlanta.
The Straight Dope: Are Gorillas Using Sign Language Really Communicating with Humans?
Cecil Adams' research column on the divided scientific opinions about apes and language. (March 28, 2003)
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October 1, 2015 at 14:35:07 UTC
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