|Interpretation: A) making statements about other statements, whereby the new statements of the vocabulary make use of the original statements and possibly introduce new vocabulary. If no new vocabulary is introduced, new information can be obtained by changing the syntactic elements.|
B) In logic, the insertion of values (objects) instead of the constants or free variables.
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|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