An Analysis of an Article Focusing on the Evolutionary and Developmental Origins of Linguistic Creativity

An Analysis of an Article Focusing on the Evolutionary and Developmental Origins of Linguistic Creativity

Document details
Category: Linguistics Essay
Subcategory: American Literature
Words: 2735
Pages: 11

The role of dialogue in the ontogeny and phylogeny of early symbol combinations A cross-species comparison of bonobo, chimpanzee, and human learnersby Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, Patricia M. Greenfield, Heidi Lyn, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh (2011)I will be discussing an article from the 31st volume of the journal First Language, published in November 2011 pp. 442-460, focusing on the evolutionary and developmental origins of linguistic creativity. It compares the language learning processes of representatives of three different species Panbanisha, a female bonobo, Panpanzee, a female chimpanzee, and NT, a human child, and was written by Kristen Gillespie-Lynch (University of California, USA), Patricia M. Greenfield (University of California, USA), Heidi Lyn (University of Southern Mississippi, USA), and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh (Great Ape Trust, USA). The broad message of the authors conclusion is that novel symbol combinations are initially dependent on conversational input although reliance on conversational input for novel symbol combination fades with development (Gillespie-Lynch et al., 2011). Their findings are helpful in the debate regarding whether ape language is limited to imitation and also addresses the claim that apes are not capable of imitation (Gillespie-Lynch et al, 2011), as the study found that imitation happened across all three of the species studied, and that they all became less dependent on imitation as they developed further, showing that ape language is in fact not limited to imitation only. This is a strength of the study as it makes the results useful in psychological and linguistic debate regarding ape language, and could be used as part of a content analysis in future studies on the topic. The study operates on two hypotheses. The first was that conversational sources for symbol combinations would occur in all three species (Gillespie-Lynch et el., 2011), and the second was that the prevalence of potential discourse sources would decrease over developmental time in all three species and that there would be developmental movement from interdependent to independent symbol combination (Gillespie-Lynch et al., 2011). The results...

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