Comments: 9
That's fascinating. I knew about the chimp adoption and communication by sign language, but not about their swearing exactly like we do.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
It was a fascinating chapter. Apparently, they also made up their own words, or rather word-combinations from using sign language and the result was just as comprehensible by the researchers as any of the words.
So chimps are related to ... Germans?

Seriously, the word combination thing *is* fascinating, though, at least as much as the swearing.
BrokenTune 2 years ago

Byrne makes reference to a chimp called Washoe who was part of an extensive research project. Apparently, there was a book called Next of Kin about her. I'm hoping to find the book. The chapter was seriously interesting.
There's also a novel called "Captivity" (author: Debbie Lee Wesselmann) that is based on the real research and hypothesizes about what might have happened to those chimps once they were taken away from their human families. IIRC, Washoe was the model for one particular chimp in that book.
BrokenTune 2 years ago
By what I gather from Byrne's book, they essentially were removed from their human family. Washoe's maternal instincts were very strong so the researchers gave her an orphaned baby (chimp - Washoe's own had sadly died) and decided to see if she would teach the baby sign language on her own. So, essentially they removed interaction with the other humans so as to not influence the baby's learning.
Some of that shows up in the novel, yes (including the fact that Washoe actually managed to get her wish for a baby across by repeatedly signing "Baby").

Maybe we should put "Next of Kin" onto our Flat Book Society reading list?
BrokenTune 2 years ago
Good idea! I've just added it.
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