Why talk? Comment on Savage-Rumbaugh et al

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8 Scopus citations


Replies to the E. S. Savage-Rumbaugh et al (see record 1984-22384-001) article on chimpanzee language acquisition, arguing that inherent in the concept of human language is the assumption that language is an instrument for the carrying out of certain purposes, such as communication and the free expression of ideas. Apes may be trained to produce behaviors that exhibit properties of human linguistic behavior. Evidence exists, however, that the motivational and intentional bases of the language acquired by ape and child differ profoundly. Insofar as these differences exist, they imply that apes and children are doing something different when they "talk." If they are doing something different, then it is not clear what to make of the formal properties shared by their talk, even when those properties include properties of human referential behavior. (9 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-497
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


  • differences in motivational bases, language development &
  • referential complex, children vs apes, criticism of article by E. S. Savage-Rumbaugh et al


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