Reflection Essay for Spatial Locations

Essay by bvm1006University, Bachelor'sA, November 2014

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Gao, Peng


Interdisciplinary Studies 1

Reflection Essay for Week 7

Reflection Essay for Can Apes Learn Languages?

What are the differences between animals and humankinds? For more than a

century anthropologists have generally assumed that humankind's ability to make

tools and use language is the most important characteristic to distinguish us from

other animals (savage、Rumbaugh, 1999). The critical thinking is here; in the 1950s

psychologists B. F Skinner argued that human children learn natural language through

conditioning. Hence, in another words, if the animals have the same training with

human babies, the animals can learn exactly the same language as humans. However,

in the 1960s linguist Noam Chomsky disproved Skinner's theory, showing that

human language is so highly complex that it must require some innate biological

capability, which he called a "language acquisition device." (savage、Rumbaugh,


As the scientists' experiments stated, if we put the same age an ape baby and a

human baby together which have the equal situation. Ape can understand more words

than human after several months. However, human baby can get more knowledge

than ape in nine months. No matter how long we train ape, it is still impossible to let

them say a sentence in "humankind languages" (Wallman, 1992). The most

significant thing, which we can't just summarize the reasons why apes can't speak is

that their biological device is not suitable for pronouncing human words. As recently

experiments state, after the training apes, they can learn almost one hundred body

languages. Hence, the body languages of apes can no longer compare with

humankind's languages. They can't distinguish initiative and passive sentences, past

tense and present tense, and engagement. Though apes have body language, but there

is a very important difference between them.

As last assignment stated, bees can do a very complex...