Title

Contextual Use of the Sign ‘BLACK’ in a Signing Chimpanzee

Presenter Information

Susan Ann Keenan
Mary Lee Jensvold

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

Chimpanzee, Word Use, American Sign Language

Abstract

Gardner and Gardner (1989) cross-fostered several chimpanzees as deaf human children immersed in American Sign Language (ASL). Many studies examined and observed how the chimpanzees would develop and learn signs from ASL. Tatu, one of these chimpanzees, has been observed signing BLACK in varied conversations throughout her life. It was often thought that she used BLACK to describe items she prefers. This study explored that hypothesis. Sign logs, an archival database, contain records of the chimpanzees’ use of signs. We selected all instances of the use of BLACK between February 2001 to May 2005. Ten caregivers rated items on a list of topics as positive, negative, or neutral. Tatu signed BLACK in topics rated positively and rarely signed BLACK in topics rated neutral or negative.

Poster Number

62

Faculty Mentor(s)

Jensvold, Mary Lee

Additional Mentoring Department

Primate Behavior and Ecology

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May 15th, 2:29 PM May 15th, 5:00 PM

Contextual Use of the Sign ‘BLACK’ in a Signing Chimpanzee

SURC Ballroom C/D

Gardner and Gardner (1989) cross-fostered several chimpanzees as deaf human children immersed in American Sign Language (ASL). Many studies examined and observed how the chimpanzees would develop and learn signs from ASL. Tatu, one of these chimpanzees, has been observed signing BLACK in varied conversations throughout her life. It was often thought that she used BLACK to describe items she prefers. This study explored that hypothesis. Sign logs, an archival database, contain records of the chimpanzees’ use of signs. We selected all instances of the use of BLACK between February 2001 to May 2005. Ten caregivers rated items on a list of topics as positive, negative, or neutral. Tatu signed BLACK in topics rated positively and rarely signed BLACK in topics rated neutral or negative.