Language Learning by a Chimpanzee - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780126018509, 9781483272504

Language Learning by a Chimpanzee

1st Edition

The Lana Project

Editors: Duane M Rumbaugh
eBook ISBN: 9781483272504
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th January 1977
Page Count: 334
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Language Learning by a Chimpanzee: The Lana Project brings together several disciplinary endeavors, such as primatology, experimental psychology, cognitive psychology, computer and information sciences, and neurosciences.

This book is composed of two sets of data—one relates to language learning in the chimpanzee, while the other deals with language construction by Homo sapiens. The fundamental issue of mind-brain dualism and difference between man and beast are also covered. This text mainly describes the LANA project that aims to develop a computer-based language training system for investigation into the possibility that chimpanzees may have the capacity to acquire human-type language.

This publication is recommended for biologists, specialists, and researchers conducting work on language learning in nonhuman primates.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors



Part I Language Theory and Foundations

Chapter 1 Language Origin Theories


Early Ideas About Language Origin

Greek, Roman, and Early Christian Views

Seventeenth-Century European Speculations

The Eighteenth-Century Enlightenment Debate on Language Origins

Nineteenth-Century Glottogonic Arguments

Decline of Interest in the Early Twentieth Century

Pioneer Work on Nonhuman Primates and Language

Glottogonic Speculation from Marr to Révész

Language Origin Ideas: 1950 to the Pongid Breakthrough

The Chimpanzee Era of Glottogonic Research

Concluding Observations

Appendix: The Glottogonic Theories


Chapter 2 Linguistic Communication: Theory and Definition


Language and Speech

What Is Communication?

The Restoration of Purpose

From Sign to Symbol

The Semantic Aspect of Syntax

The Recognition of Language


Chapter 3 Cross-Modal Perception: A Basis for Language?


Cross-Modal Methods

Experiments with Apes and Monkeys



Part II Design of the LANA Project

Chapter 4 The LANA Project: Origin and Tactics

Chapter 5 The Yerkish Language and Its Automatic Parser

Preliminary Remarks

Design of the Lexigrams

The Lexicon

The Conceptual Lexigram Classes

An Interpretive Correlational Grammar

Correlators: The Connective Functions of Yerkish

Yerkish Sentence Structure

Peculiarities of the Yerkish Grammar

The Multistore Parser

The Grammaticality of Lana's Sentence Production


Chapter 6 Computer Programs

The Multistore

The Combinatorial Problem

The Multistore Approach

Description of Procedure


Reclassification Routine


Chapter 7 The System: Design and Operation

Introduction: An Automated System

The Instrumentation System

The Experimental Chamber

The Instrumentation System Operation


Chapter 8 Training Strategy and Tactics

Specific Training Strategies

Part III Lana's Mastery of Language-Type Skills

Chapter 9 Lana's Acquisition of Language Skills

"Reading and Writing"

Elimination of Errors: First Ten Months

Yes and No

Naming Training

Use of "Stock" Sentences for Other Than the Originally Intended Purpose


Move It to the Vending Device

Give Name-of This

Use of "To"

A Request for a Nonpresent Object

Orange (Fruit) = The Apple Which-Is Orange (Colored)

Drink Milk; Eat Bread

Sensitivity to the Limits of Sentence Length

Put the Milk in the Machine

Learning the Use of "More"

Cross-Modal Tasks



Chapter 10 Language Relevant Object- and Color-Naming Tasks


Experiment I. Color Versus Object Naming of Projected Photographs

Experiment II. Color Naming of Novel Objects

Experiment III. Color Naming of Requested Object When Several Objects Are Present

Experiment IV. Naming of Object Requested by Color When Several Objects Are Present

Experiment V. Intermingled Color and Object Naming Questions of a Requested Object with Six Objects Present




Chapter 11 Color Perception and Color Classification

Experiment I

Experiment II


Implications and Conclusions


Chapter 12 Conversations with Lana

Experiment I

Experiment II

General Discussion


Chapter 13 Acquisition and Use of Mathematical Skills by a Linguistic Chimpanzee

Experiment 1A: Ability to Select the Greater Quantity with Fruit Loop Ratios 1:2-4:5

Experiment 1B: Ability to Select the Greater Quantity with Fruit Loop Ratios 1:2-9:10


Experiment 2: Mathematical Ability to Distinguish "More" and "Less" in Terms of Relative Number



Part IV Projects for the Future

Chapter 14 The Conversation Board


A Conversation Board System

The Conversation Board System Operation

Procedures for Employing the CB as a Language Learning Tool

Chapter 15 Implications of the Yerkes Technology for Mentally Retarded Human Subjects

Selection of the Target Population

Summary of Relevant Literature

Speculations on the Technological Advantages of the System

Modifications of the System

Overview of the Program Plans


Part V Language and Communication: A Perspective

Chapter 16 Communication, Language, and Lana: A Perspective


Definitions of Communication

Categorical Schemata and Sequential Analyses

Communication as Rule-Governed Exchanges

Cognitive Structures and Communication

Classification of Communicative Acts

Summary and Conclusions

Projections of Ape Language Projects

A Final Perspective


Chronological Bibliography of LANA

Project Publications


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© Academic Press 1977
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Editor

Duane M Rumbaugh

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