Title

Sign Dialects in Chimpanzees

Presenter Information

Susan Ann Keenan
Mary Lee Jensvold

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 201

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

Dialects encompass myriad elements of discourse, such as accents, rhythm, and intonation. These language features and more are noted in spoken and signed languages for humans (e.g., Purnell, Idsardi, and Baugh, 1999; Nespor and Sandler, 1999). Accents are commonly associated with sounds, but they also exist in visual languages, such as American Sign Language (ASL). Variations in signs enable us to see these differences from one individual to another. Children will talk and sign in childish forms that differ from adult pronunciations and handshapes. Pronunciations can alter the rhythm of speech in different dialects (e.g., Ghazali, Hamdi, and Barkat, 2002). Chimpanzees who were exposed to ASL provide an outlet to explore these elements in non-human communication. There are many examples of instances that chimpanzees modulate their signs in size, speed, and form.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Mary Lee Jensvold

Additional Mentoring Department

Primate Behavior

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May 16th, 2:40 PM May 16th, 3:00 PM

Sign Dialects in Chimpanzees

SURC 201

Dialects encompass myriad elements of discourse, such as accents, rhythm, and intonation. These language features and more are noted in spoken and signed languages for humans (e.g., Purnell, Idsardi, and Baugh, 1999; Nespor and Sandler, 1999). Accents are commonly associated with sounds, but they also exist in visual languages, such as American Sign Language (ASL). Variations in signs enable us to see these differences from one individual to another. Children will talk and sign in childish forms that differ from adult pronunciations and handshapes. Pronunciations can alter the rhythm of speech in different dialects (e.g., Ghazali, Hamdi, and Barkat, 2002). Chimpanzees who were exposed to ASL provide an outlet to explore these elements in non-human communication. There are many examples of instances that chimpanzees modulate their signs in size, speed, and form.