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Lecture 3

ANT102H5 Lecture 3: Lecture 3 - ANT102

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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANT102H5
Professor
Jack Sidnell
Semester
Summer

Description
Lecture 3 Tuesday, May 16, 2017 Human pointing Humans understand pointing because they can share attention and draw on common knowledge i.e. common ground. The only information you are giving is a direction The way you get so much information from this is that you understand that point in relation to shared knowledge (I know that you know and that you know that I know) Joint attention, shared experience and common cultural knowledge are all critical in human communication Chimps and Bonobos are closest relatives We know that if we observe these animals in the wild they dont have something like the human language BUT do they have the capacity of learning human languages? I.e. Washoe, Nim Chimpsky, Kanzi and Koko Chimps and Bonobos can with extensive training Chompsky defines language as the capacity to generate an infinite range of expressions from a finite set of elements What distinguishes human language from all other animal languages is that its infinite Language is uniquely human Humans and other animals are qualitative and not quantitative Evidence suggests that with the help of humans upbringing they are capable of learning words According to Tomasello, apes lack the ability and motivation to use signs in the way humans do to share information by referring to things Its not just an ability but also motivation He suggests that chimps and bonobos are on the cusp of understanding They are capable of intentional and flexible communication and are capable of attending to the attention of others However, they lack the cooperative social motivation to share information with others for its own sake They follow one anothers attention, but they do not DIRECT one anothers attention What about primate vocalizations? More developed in monkeys than apes. Gorillas, chimps, bonobos dont have this communication 2. Largely involuntary and not intentional. Ape gestures are closer to human language than are apeprimate vocalizations: Voluntary There are two basic kinds of ape gestures: 1. Intentionmovements 2. Attentiongetters Evidence of involuntary and non intentional signals (Monkeys)
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