Title

Using Type-Token Ratio as Measurement for Lexical Diversity in Chimpanzee Conversations

Presenter Information

Susan Ann Keenan
Mary Lee Jensvold

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 301

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

Using Type-Token Ratio as Measurement for Lexical Diversity in Chimpanzee Conversations Type-Token Ratio (TTR) is a measurement commonly used to measure lexical diversity of conversations, spontaneous utterances, and literature (Richards, 1987). The ratio describes the variation of vocabulary used in spoken or written utterances and can track changes in this variation between samples of comparable composition. The vocabulary of four adult cross-fostered signing chimpanzees living at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute at Central Washington University was examined using TTR. The types were different glosses, or word meanings for signs. The tokens were the total number of signs in the transcript. Two samples of 150 utterances from transcripts from Bodamer and Gardner (2002) were selected for analysis and indicate TTR is another way to describe the chimpanzees' use of signs. The chimpanzees use similar amounts of types in each sample, but vary in the amount of tokens. The chimpanzees also showed differences in their most frequently signed words in both number of instances and topic category. Personality may influence lexical diversity through knowledge of vocabulary based on interests and what is chose to discuss. Results suggest that the human caregiver may influence the lexical diversity used in a conversation by varying glosses for each chimpanzee.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Mary Lee Jensvold

Additional Mentoring Department

Primate Behavior

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Using Type-Token Ratio as Measurement for Lexical Diversity in Chimpanzee Conversations

SURC 301

Using Type-Token Ratio as Measurement for Lexical Diversity in Chimpanzee Conversations Type-Token Ratio (TTR) is a measurement commonly used to measure lexical diversity of conversations, spontaneous utterances, and literature (Richards, 1987). The ratio describes the variation of vocabulary used in spoken or written utterances and can track changes in this variation between samples of comparable composition. The vocabulary of four adult cross-fostered signing chimpanzees living at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute at Central Washington University was examined using TTR. The types were different glosses, or word meanings for signs. The tokens were the total number of signs in the transcript. Two samples of 150 utterances from transcripts from Bodamer and Gardner (2002) were selected for analysis and indicate TTR is another way to describe the chimpanzees' use of signs. The chimpanzees use similar amounts of types in each sample, but vary in the amount of tokens. The chimpanzees also showed differences in their most frequently signed words in both number of instances and topic category. Personality may influence lexical diversity through knowledge of vocabulary based on interests and what is chose to discuss. Results suggest that the human caregiver may influence the lexical diversity used in a conversation by varying glosses for each chimpanzee.