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September 21, 2006

Research Essay - Simian Communication and Language


Photo Source: http://www.vanderzande.com/1971/apes.gif

As you saw me present the "demo" powerpoint presentation today in class, I asked you to take notes in your journal on the following information. Some of these you may have needed to answer outside of class.

Here are the questions:

What is the “topic” of the research presentation?

What “research question (or questions)” does this research presentation attempt to answer?

What is the research presentation’s “thesis”?

What kind of “data” has been collected to support the presenter’s research?

What “sources,” NOT counting the photos cited from various places, would you imagine that the researcher had to collect in order to collect the data for his thesis? If you had to answer his question(s) without interviews, how would you do it?

What techniques does the researcher use to “cite” his sources throughout the PowerPoint presentation?

How is this different [or similar] to what you would do in a research paper? In a documentary film?

What conclusions did the researcher draw by the end of the PowerPoint presentation?

Did the researcher do an adequate job of proving his thesis? How? If not, how?

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For the second part of your homework assignment: I wanted you to take your answers to questions 1 through 8 and form a paragraph or two (in your own words) that adequately synthesizes all of your answers, thus providing a very scholarly summary of the entire project. So, please copy and paste your paragraphs from your word processor (AFTER you've spelled-checked, etc.) into the comment box. Remember to include your name and section number on any comment to the blog. These will go public after everyone has submitted. Tumitin will alert me to issues of non-originality so let's keep it in your OWN words.

I do NOT want to see just a "list" of answers. I want to see a well-constructed paragraph (or two) that incorporates the crux of the information you collected during the presentation demonstration today. What you have done today is how vou should approach anv source you use for vour research proiect.

See you in class,

Lee Hobbs

Posted by lhobbs at September 21, 2006 12:25 PM

Readers' Comments:

The topic of the presentation was Simian communication qualifying as a language. The presenter attempts to answer many various questions. Some which include “Will Simian communication ever qualify as a language?”, “What is history’s take on animal intelligence?”, and “How is language defined?” just to name a few. The main thesis is the communication tools that qualify a Simian language. The presenter used interviews and accounts from people, along with accounts of authoritative figures in history such as Descartes. The presenter most likely used books, along with pictures from the internet. The presenter quotes all of the pictures with the title of where it came from under the picture. Overall conclusions from the presentation was that Simian communication qualifying as a language will be tied up because Hockett, and the linguists will always be against it. The presenter did a great job of presenting the information, and why the Simian language currently does not qualify as a language.

Engl 202-027

Posted by: Heather H. at September 21, 2006 02:05 PM

The presentation Simian Communication and Language takes a look at whether or not the means of communication between primates should be considered a language. The researcher attempts to answer that question by presenting to the audience what the experts, linguists, uses in order to dictate what is and is not considered to be a language. The main idea of this presentation is that although these “beasts” may not speak to one another like humans, they do communicate in ways that are very similar to the human language. Examples of past experiments, quotes, and definitions were all included in order to support the researcher’s main idea. Some of the sources that were used include linguists, dictionaries, and articles about the experiments that have been conducted. If I had to use other sources, I would probably try to contact a linguist for an interview or watch a documentary on how the primates were taught to communicate. In order to cite his sources, the researcher gave the name, occupation, and credentials for each of the individuals. For the informational text and photos, the website or book which it was found was given. For a research essay we will follow a similar format, although we will be required to give more information such as the date, the author, and the page number. By the end of the presentation, the researcher concluded that simian communication has indeed met all the criteria to be considered a language, although the linguists still disagree. I feel he proved his thesis very well by establishing that all of the criteria were met with an example of each experiment.

Angie F.
ENGL 202-023

Posted by: Angie F. at September 21, 2006 07:52 PM

The topic on the research presentation was “Will simian communication ever qualify as a language?”. There were quite a few research questions presented, they are, what is language, how do linguists define language, are talking beasts still beasts, and finally, can animals think or feel? The thesis in the research presentation was that simian communication does qualify as a language. The information Dr. Hobbs collected to support his research was scholarly opinions from Descartes and Voltaire. He also quoted Clynes, the Oxford English dictionary, Funk and Wagnall’s’ standard college dictionary, Dr. Chomsky, and lastly, Dr. Hockett. I would presume that Dr. Hobbs had to collect many scholarly articles, as well as psychological and linguist studies to prove his thesis. If I had to prove this theory, I would have gone in the same direction. One item that struck me was that Dr. Hobbs cited all of his photo sources in the presentation, but, did not give the sources on the quotes given with the exception of the name and occasionally the date. I have never done a power point presentation, so I am not sure if this is correct, although I would imagine the sources should be given at the end of the presentation. In the conclusion, Dr. Hobbs stated that linguists, the experts on language, did not have a definition on the subject. He also added that animal researchers proved that an apes communication does classify as a language according to the stipulations given by Hockett, linguists refuse to accept this by adding more conditions to the list. I do believe that Dr. Hobbs was well organized and did a good job in proving his thesis. Ape’s have been in many experiments and observations to prove their capabilities of adapting to our level of communication.

Dawn Longenecker Sect. 023

Posted by: Dawn Longenecker at September 21, 2006 08:11 PM

9-26-06

The research presented on September 21st, 2006 explored the credibility of Simian language as a true language. It was the researcher's goal to determine whether or not this form of interaction, human-like communication done by apes and chimpanzees with each other and with other humans, was truly a language. The primary data that attempted to support this research included numerous examples of apes and chimpanzees that scientists believed could communicate, as well as theories of various scientists, philosophers, and linguists whose views the researcher believed matched or were consistent with the data found by the aforementioned animal researchers. The presentation of this data clearly articulated the researcher's position on the subject, and provided substantial proof that his argument, though it may be agreed with or disagree with, was scholarly.
The development of this presentation was very clear and organized. The researcher addressed ideas such as 'what is language?' and 'what qualifies something as a language' very early in the presentation so that the reviewer/reader could be thinking about these things and how they apply to thesis as the data in the second portion of the research project was presented. In general, I think that the researcher's thesis was adequately supported. Based on the presentation, it became clear to me that the researched believed that this communication system was a language, and the examples he presented clearly supported this view.

Vince W.
ENGL 202-023

Posted by: Vince W. at September 21, 2006 08:33 PM

The topic of this presentation is Simian communication. This presentation attempts to answer historic researchers take on animal intelligence. It also attempts to answer what the definition of language is, and how it is defined by linguists. The researcher’s thesis, Simian Communication doesn't qualify as a language. The data that has been collected is the quoted historic sources and researched studies done on the different apes using the sign language and board, and how they responded to it. Also, the data about the seventeen points by Charles Hockett. I think that the researcher had to do some preliminary research maybe on the internet to get a general idea about this topic and then with that data, he used books and scholarly articles to come up with the ideas presented in his presentation. I would use this technique to answer questions because I think that the internet is a good place to search around and get an idea of some important points on the topic, then taking that information and looking in more legitimate sources like scholarly articles and books to get the actual information that will be presented. The researcher used pictures on every slide and he sited his sources at the bottom of the picture or the bottom of the screen. Also, he used the author’s or researcher’s name when presenting their information. By the end of the presentation, the researcher concluded that linguists still reject evidence of language usage in apes. They claim that the subjects are merely trained animals like Pavlov’s dogs. I think the presentation was very adequate and that the thesis was well proven. The presentation gave a lot of examples and factual information that looked at both sides of the topic.

AlyshaG
sec 023

Posted by: AlyshaG at September 22, 2006 08:50 AM

Professor Hobbs,

Yesterday in our English class we watched a research presentation about the usage of language. One question we had to ask our self during the presentation was, “What actually is language?” During the presentation the researcher was able to show us how gorillas and monkeys were able to learn language just like a human could. Data for this research presentation was collect by researching the web for websites about communication with monkeys and finding people who actually are involved with this type of experiments. The researcher was able to show how even monkeys were able to teach sign language to each other without the help of a human. This happens because the monkey without the knowledge feels left out and can not understand what the other monkeys are trying to say. When they see the one monkey making a symbol for “banana”, then the other monkey understands that he must make this symbol for the same response also.

During the research presentation, the presenter would always cite his sources by putting a small link to where it was found at the bottom of the screen. This allowed us to see where his information for the research project really came from. By the end of the presentation, a conclusion I felt he was able to come to was that language is not just something that you and I do to communicate to each other. Language is the use of “symbols” and understanding the process to what the other one is trying to say. I felt that the presenter did a good job showing his thesis and explaining his ideas by giving good information.


Nick Logue
Section 202-027

Posted by: Nick L at September 22, 2006 10:29 AM

Professor Hobbs,

The demonstration by Professor Hobbs on Simian Language tried to define what a language is and if Simian qualifies. He tried to prove that linguists, language specialists, are not very sure how to define language and that Simian could be a language. He included several stories about apes and communication to support his ideas. From one of his sources he found a seventeen point checklist that is supposed to define what a language is and if it does not fit every point than it is not a language. He proved that one of the points does not include sign language and if this checklist does not include sign language than it cannot be accurate with defining language. By the end of the presentation, he had proved to us that even specialists are not entirely sure how to define language and that simian could in fact be a language.

For researching this topic, I think the researcher would need to collect newspaper articles, scholarly articles, books and media sources. I would find videos that include stories of the animals communicating with others. Also, I would find articles that prove my stance on the topic. In order to site the sources he did use, he posted websites for where he found pictures on each slide. In addition, he included who said certain information and what their theories were. I think this was a good example of a presentation and I think the author did a good job of proving his ideas.

Andrea N.
Section 023

Posted by: Andrea N. at September 22, 2006 02:43 PM

The topic of this presentation was the communication between animals and the theories that certain people believe about how monkeys communicate. The research question that was trying to be answered in this presentation was will Simian communication ever qualify as a language? The researcher’s thesis was showing the different ways animals can communicate to one another and how they may actually be able to understand each other. Several types of data that may have been collected to support the researchers work include books, journals, the internet, and maybe even interviews. Besides interviews, the researchers other sources could have came from newspapers or magazine articles telling about the ways animals can learn to communicate with one another. If I had to answer his questions without interviews, I would collect information in books and use scholarly journal articles about the way animals can be trained to communicate and how they can learn to understand one another. The technique used in the researcher’s presentation to cite his sources included citing where he found his photos. The researcher would also have to include a bibliography to show where he found all his information. This will be similar to the research and the PowerPoint presentation I will do because if I have pictures in my presentation, I will have to cite where exactly I found them. Also, I will be including a works cited page at the end of my paper. The researcher concluded that many different people have their own views on if animals can or cannot communicate with one another. There is evidence that animals can be trained to communicate and understand others. Animals are in fact intelligent creatures. I do believe the researcher did an adequate job proving his thesis because he proved his main points that he stated at the beginning of his presentation. He touched upon each point including the history of animal intelligence, how people define language, and different peoples theories on what communication between animals really is.

Katie L.
Section 27

Posted by: Katie L. section 27 at September 23, 2006 07:36 PM

The topic of Professor Hobb’s presentation was “Will Simian Communication Ever Qualify as a Language?” I believe that this research paper tried to answer the concept of animals having a language. The thesis of his data was probably something like this: To a certain degree, animals do in fact present language. Much data was collected about the specific chimps’ studies, and also theories from experts in the field of linguistics. To collect this data professor Hobbs consulted dictionaries, websites (for his pictures), text books, and probably scientific journals for his information on monkey studies. Hobbs “cites” his sources by declaring who said what information and stating what websites his pictures were from directly on the PowerPoint.
The conclusions drawn by the end of the PowerPoint presentation was that linguists still reject evidence of language usage in apes. The claimed that subjects are conditioned to language. Experts of linguistics constantly added new components to differentiate language between humans and monkeys.
The PowerPoint presentation was well laid out, descriptive, and the information throughout its entirety answered the thesis statement. It was overall, very interesting and informative.

Katie M.
section 202

Posted by: Katie M. at September 24, 2006 12:23 PM

The power point presentation our class watched was quite interesting; the topic of the power point was communication. The question of the presentation is asking can animals communicate, do they have a language. I believe the thesis was trying to state that it should not matter what we are, we all communicate in our own language. The kind of data that had to be collected to support the presenter’s research was using history from Voltaire, Descartes, finding the definitions in dictionaries and encyclopedias, also researching Dr. Noam Chomsky and Dr. Charles Hockett beliefs. Other types of data used were the different apes that know sign language or have been taught other means of communication. How about that one ape that was able to speak four words in English. As I was reading the slides I noticed, under a picture or at the very bottom of the slide, in small print the photo source for each picture. Also when quoting what a person has already said, putting the cited source at the bottom of the slide in small print is good to do. By the end of the film the presenter tried to conclude that linguists still reject evidence usage in apes. The filmmaker did an adequate job in proving the thesis by using the views and examples of doctors, linguists, and some others.

Ashley O.
ENGL 202 sec.023

Posted by: Ashley O. at September 24, 2006 12:25 PM

Hi Professor Hobbs,
Demo Presentation Paragraph:

The presenter, Professor Hobbs, created a very interesting and informative research presentation discussing the topic of simian communication ever qualifying as a language. The main questions that were attempted to be answered throughout the presentation include: What is history’s take on language? What is language? How do linguists define language? What is performance and comprehension? Professor Hobbs’ thesis was the simple fact of unraveling the question of what is considered language and how important people in language perceive it as an overall form of communication. There was a lot of data collected for this presentation. All very organized, and well placed throughout the different points of research. He used Rene Descartes, Voltaire, Dr. Noam Chomsky and Dr. Charles Hackett. All of the quotes used were very relevant, interesting and supported the points he was trying to prove by the end of the presentation. They created the controversy of different perceptions of language, between people and or between people and animals, or even if that form of communication exits. Other sources that were collected for additional information included book and internet research, used to create a better understanding of the topic and to perform with more knowledge while presenting and getting the overall point of the research across to the viewers. Throughout the presentation one great way to cite his sources was to use pictures, add the site of place were the information was collected while also describing his different techniques of how he discovered his findings. The conclusions that were made at the end of the presentation were not set answers but, yet an understanding for language, what it is, how linguists perceive it and that there are constant findings of human to ape communication. That all opinions are going to be slightly different. The real question is who do you, as a viewer/learner agree with, which allowed for a great way to proving his thesis. This presentation was well put together, interesting and also left me thinking how I feel about language: what it is and how it works.

Jennifer T.
ENGL 202 sec. 023

Posted by: Jennifer T. at September 24, 2006 02:42 PM

The main focus of the PowerPoint presentation was Simian communication. There was an overall focus on the language capabilities of animals. Throughout the presentation, there were a few evident questions that were asked. What defines/is language? Will linguists ever accept Simian communication as a language? Isn’t scientific evidence science itself? As far as a thesis statement goes, I wasn’t able to pick out an exact one. He was merely arguing on behalf of those who support/scientifically study the communicative abilities of animals. If anything, I would have to say that the thesis of this presentation was that this Simian language qualifies as a language just as much as French and English. Philosophers and leading linguists, for years, have been studying this topic and throughout the presentation, quotes (many of them I might add) were used to add substance. Manfred Clynes, René Descartes, Voltaire and Dr. Noam Chomsky are just a few of the people who were quoted in the presentation. To go along with these quotes, the presenter used photographs to give you a visual image of these brilliant men/women.
By the end of the presentation, the presenter was firm in his belief that linguists reject all evidence of language usage in apes. They are claimed to be conditioned (trained) to perform such tasks. I feel that the presenter did an excellent job of proving his thesis. There was a clear understanding of the topic at hand and quite an abundance of information was found to support the presenter’s ideas.

Matthew K.
ENGL202-023

Posted by: Matthew K. at September 24, 2006 05:16 PM

September 23, 2006

In my opinion, the presentation that we had in class had the topic of Simian communication and language whether the ways that apes communicate could become a language. The presentation attempts to answer that question by talking about the information that was collected from all of the researchers’ sources. The thesis falls back on whether or not that apes will be able to speak our language in the future. Some of the data that has been collected to support this presentation was past cases of trying to teach apes which include an ape being able to speak, sign, and point out to pictures in reference to words and actions. Without using the photos that were in the presentation, the researcher could have used science books, science magazines and even taken a tour of a facility if close to the location of one where this kind of research is being conducted. If I were doing my presentation on this topic, I would look through all of the science books and magazines relating to this topic and also search the web to find out as much as possible for my research. When the researcher cites hid internet sources he uses “”, however if I were citing a source I would use parentheses in my research paper. By the end of the presentation, the researcher had told us of many instances where apes had been able to communicate in some way, shape or form, but I can not recall if they ever proved their thesis. However the researcher did share a great detail of information from their presentation that I was not aware of.

Valerie W.
Section 202 023

Posted by: Valerie W. at September 24, 2006 07:02 PM

The topic that was presented to us by the researcher was Simian Communication. This topic was strikingly interesting because it explored animals and just how intelligent they can be. I think that the presentation aimed to answer a few key questions. First of all, does Simian Communication qualify as a language? Also, what are Hockett’s 17 points of language? The thesis that the presenter came to was that although Simian Communication shows that the animals can communicate, it does not qualify as a language. The presentation then went through Hockett’s 17 points of language to try to prove his thesis to be true.

The researcher did a superior job of putting together enough data for a research presentation like this. Some of the data that he collected was from people who specialize in language known as linguists and quotes from philosophers to show the development of how people distinguish what is language and what is not. In order for the researcher to develop his thesis, some of the places he would have had to look first are in encyclopedias or specialized books on language. Also, some research on the internet had to be done. I would have approached an undertaking like this in a very similar manner. The researcher was always sure to cite wherever he got his pictures from with a short website citation at the bottom of the page.

The conclusion that the researcher made at the end of the presentation was just what his thesis was; that Simian Communication was not a language but was communication. I think he did an excelling job of proving his thesis by going through all of Hockett’s keys to being qualified as a language.

Cody M.
Section 027

Posted by: Cody M. at September 24, 2006 08:12 PM

Scientists and researchers have made some astonishing discoveries since the interest involving communication with apes arose years ago. The type of communication, known as Simian communication, isn’t currently qualified as a language. As presented in class, Professor Hobbs thoroughly described a full background on Simian communication and especially focused on the topics of what constitutes a language based on a set of principles presented by Charles Hockett. Out of all of the principles presented, the information was offered in a way that showed that Simian communication should be identified as a language; it holds the same characteristics as any other language but yet is not identified as one. Information on this subject could have been obtained largely from scientific sources in books, on websites pertaining to language and Simian communication, and critiqued journals based on findings in the many experiments that have been conducted on researching the idea of Simian communication. Professor Hobbs also emphasized the definition of words such as “language” and other words pertaining to his topic based on dictionary definitions. The use of pictures also gave the audience a better understanding of the topic; one could especially find useful the picture of the ape operating a lexigram machine. The pictures were also cited with their respective website below them. The use of pictures enhanced the presentation, but had pictures not been available, more descriptive sentencing and hand gestures may have been a reliable second option. By the end of the presentation, Professor Hobbs had clearly demonstrated through a well organized and factual presentation that Simian communication has what it takes to become an official language, but he explained that more criteria are constantly being added to what constitutes an official language, thereby lessening the chances for an official Simian language.

Rich L.
ENG 202.027

Posted by: Rich L. at September 24, 2006 08:41 PM

The topic of the research presentation was Simian communication and language. The questions the presentation attempted to answer were: Do Simian’s speak a language? Is there a difference between communication and language? Are the Simian’s smart enough to have a language? The thesis is The Simians do not have a language but can communicate with each other. Collections of theories by different scientists or psychologists and experiments were analyzed to support the thesis. I imagine the researcher had to find books about the subject to get information from all those specialists in the field. The researcher cites his sources by placing the Internet address underneath the pictures he shows and has a bibliography at the end of the presentation. He also mentions who said what theory. The difference from the citation in the presentation to that of a research paper are the pictures but they could be used in a documentary. The similarity would be the bibliography page. The astonishing intelligence of the Simian and what they were capable of doing with communication was one conclusion the researcher came to. Another conclusion was that they are not necessarily smart enough to know the actual meaning of a word but can put words together with actions using visuals or pitches of a voice. The researcher did an adequate job of proving his thesis because he had viable information to suggest that animals such as the Simian only communicate. He also does a good job of making the viewer see his thesis as the more favorable one because he includes opposing viewpoints that have been proven wrong or questionable.

Posted by: Brian B. at September 24, 2006 10:43 PM

Professor Hobbs, here is my paragraph in response to the power point on simian communication. The topic of the presentation was simian communication. The researcher attempts to answer the question, “ will simian communication ever qualify as a language?” The thesis is should we accept apes forms of communication as language? The data that has been collected is mainly information from linguist and animal researchers. The linguist mostly gave guidelines for what they consider to be language. The researchers information included the many means by which animals (apes) could communicate. The sources not including the interviews that was collected was articles and online sources. The researcher uses the MLA style to cite his sources through out the power point. At the end the researcher draws the conclusions that linguist refuse any proof that apes might use language. Also the researcher says that there is no real definition as to what exactly language is. The thesis was and wasn’t proved due to the fact that there really is no answer. Animal researchers claim that yes animals can communicate with one another and therefore are able to use language. While linguist say that the animals don’t met all of the qualifications made to have their form of communication to be considered as language. So I believe that the thesis was answered as well as it could be considering the difference of opinions in the experts in the field

Posted by: Sophia. W Section 23 at September 25, 2006 01:50 PM

The topic of the presentation was about simian communication and whether or not a monkey's communication skills will ever be considered a language amongst us. The question that I thought was trying to be answered was whether or not a monkey's language should be taken seriously or not? Are they really speaking and understanding us? I believe the thesis of the presentation was to demonstrate the types of languages simians use and how it is another form of language. Some of the data used for the research, were monkeys who used sign language and statistics and quotes from dictionaries and documented sources.
The presentation was done in powerpoint so the citations were cited at the bottom of the slide in MLA form.
By the end of the presentation, I came to the conclusion that simian language isn't really considered a language at all to researchers and linguist around the world and I feel that the presenter did an adequate job of proving his thesis by stating what linguist and professionalists had to say about monkey's and the language they use to communicate.

Posted by: Laurisa Jackson at September 25, 2006 02:47 PM

It’s a known fact that simians are the nearest species to humans, and are very much like us in many ways. One of the main differing characteristics, however, is the fact that human beings have a language of their own and are able to communicate amongst one another. However, simians are continuously taught the basics of the English language, and it’s debated whether simian communication will ever be considered a real language.
This all stemmed from the basic question, do animals have thoughts and feelings, which was the basis of the power point presentation. To support this research, certain data was accumulated and presented. A specific list of the things that make up language was presented, along with definitions and examples of language. Also, there were relevant photos and interviews from researched historians (ex. Descartes). If these specific interviews were not completed, the research could have been founded from online sources and different scholarly journals. To cite all of the information, each slide was documented, meaning if there was picture, the source was written underneath it, and also each definition stated what dictionary it was founded from.
By the end of the power point presentation, what a language is was concluded. This conclusion was made adequate because of linguistics, which reject the question of whether simian communication will ever be a language. It was rejected based on the fundamentals of a language, claiming that apes are trained animals. Therefore, these animals would need to show more signs of understanding and response before they are to be considered on the same level as human beings.

Lauren S.
English 202- Section 27

Posted by: Lauren S. at September 25, 2006 02:53 PM

In our past class watched a PowerPoint presentation regarding if whether Simian communication will ever qualify as a language. There are a number of qualities that types of communication must meet to be eligible to be considered a language. These qualities are known as Hockett’s Key Language Properties. The research question that was asked by this film was what are Hockett’s Key Language Properties. During this presentation the presenter’s thesis was that simian creatures communicate and exploring if their communication fulfills Hockett’s Key Language Properties.
Numerous sources were used to complete this presentation, some of which were quotes from scientists, dictionaries, and information from specialized scientists called linguists. If interviews were not available during the research for this presentation then the presenter could use encyclopedias, books, and various websites. The majority of the picture sources throughout this PowerPoint presentation were cited by placing the website’s URL underneath the picture. While the information sources were cited at the end of the presentation in a bibliography.
By the end of the presentation the researcher began to come to the conclusion that simian creatures do communicate but do not qualify as using a language. Although their communication does not qualify as a language, their communication does meet sixteen of the seventeen requirements for Hockett’s Key Language Properties. Throughout this presentation the presenter did tremendous job of verifying his thesis. There were abundant examples provided in proving it. It truly is amazing to see the level of complexity that simian creatures use to communicate.

Adam V.
Section 27

Posted by: Adam V. at September 25, 2006 03:28 PM

25 September 2006

Professor Hobbs,

The presentation given in class last Thursday was entitled, “Will Simian Communications Ever Classify as a Language.” The presenter challenged the audience with questions even before the thesis was presented. He asked the questions, “What is language?” and, “How do linguist define language?” The thesis of the presentation was, if a beast could talk, could it still be a beast? As the presentation went on as a member of the audience I learned about the different ways that apes and gorillas communicate including through American Sign Language (ASL).
It’s obvious that the presenter put a great amount of time into researching this particular subject. Information about apes and gorillas are among things that the researcher would have to know about. The presenter would also have had to research and learned a great deal about sign language and how it was taught. I would guess that the presenter used books and scholarly articles to gain most of his knowledge for this presentation. I’m sure if there was an interview with a caretaker of one of the gorillas or apes we viewed in the presentation, that it would have been very interesting. The presenter cited his information and photograph’s that he used on the slide by putting the website in small text underneath the pictures.
The presenter came to the conclusion that linguist still reject the evidence of language usage in apes and gorillas. I think that they presenter had a very well put together presentation, and the way that he presented it was very professional and interesting. I still feel a little confused on the answer to the thesis, but I also think that there is no clear cut answer to it. Over all the presentation was very well put together, and well done. The thesis is a question that is still unanswered, but it has also challenged me to think, “If a beast could talk, could it still be a beast?” So with that said I think the presenter did a superb job at challenging the audience to go out and see what they can find out about this subject.

Matt G.
Section 23

Posted by: Matt G. at September 25, 2006 03:31 PM

CarrieB
Section 023


The topic of Thursday’s research presentation was Simian Communication. The presentation was trying to answer the question if it will ever qualify as a language? The researcher’s thesis is that monkeys and apes can communicate with not only their own form of language but others that are used by humans. A lot of data was introduced to support the researcher’s thesis. Many examples of primates using language they have been taught and learned on their own. Not only information about the primates language was used, but research about our own language to compare. Not many interviews were used but by using history and book research it made the presentation very informative.
The end of the presentation was used to really ask the question of “Will Simian Communication Ever Qualify as a Language?” The researcher did a great job at explaining and proving his thesis and to make the viewer believe the thesis. By stating that one of the best known dictionaries still had no real definition for the word language really make the viewer have an open mind of what the word language actually means and is.

Posted by: Carrie Berkey at September 25, 2006 03:41 PM

In our last class, Prof. Hobbs showed us his research presentation on Simian Communication. He asked whether simian communication will ever qualify as a language. I perceived his thesis to be, yes, simian communication, on some level, already exists. Prof Hobbs used facts, dates, quotes, definitions, and theories as his data to back up his argument. He reads his quotes from word of mouth directly from experts in the fields of language and biology. He concluded that Linguists still reject evidence of apes having the ability to use language. They consider it a conditioned response. I liked how Prof Hobbs went though each requirement of a language to be considered a language and then hit each point on how its faulty to use it against apes. He did a very adequate job.


Matt R
ENGL 202-027

Posted by: Matthew R at September 25, 2006 05:02 PM

Professor Hobbs

Hello!

The topic of Professor Hobb’s presentation was Simian communications. He used the questions, “Will simian communication ever qualify as a language?” and “Are talking beast still “beasts”.” to answer his research. The thesis statement, what is language, is answered throughout the presentation and to support the thesis, Professor Hobbs researched some Languists, people who study language, and got their perspective on the issue. Books and articles were used in this research to support the presentation. If I was conducting the research I might talk to some workers at the zoo and get their take on simian communication since they would have one on one contact.
Professor Hobbs used internet pictures with an internet address below the picture. He also had a college dictionary cited for some of the research. With the research that I learned from the presentation, I understood that Languist still reject evidence of apes communicating and they are just trained like other animals to perform certain tasks. I thought the presenter did a good job of proving his thesis. Although there isn’t a certain answer to the thesis, I would say that language is communication through words, symbols, and motions.

Whitney Weaver
Section 027

Posted by: Whitney W at September 25, 2006 06:15 PM

The topic of the presentation was can animals communicate? A few of the questions that the presentation attempts to answer are what is language, and what is communication? The thesis of the presentation is that animals cannot communicate. They are only mirroring what they see. The data used in the presentation were secondary sources. To answer the research questions, interviews could be used instead of the secondary sources. To cite the sources used, the presentation had a full MLA citation at the bottom of each slide. One conclusion that the presentation made was that there was not a standard definition for language. No I do not think that the presentation answered the thesis. Seeing how there was no standard definition of language how could he answer the question?

Posted by: Marlene B engl 202-23 at September 25, 2006 06:47 PM


Simians were the topic of the research presentation we viewed in class. The researcher questioned whether or not Simians were able to communicate using language. Many views were voiced on the subject, and a lot of information was brought to the table. The thesis of this research presentation was that while Simians are primates, they can, and they do communicate using language.

To prove the thesis, the researcher collected data from previous scientific studies. The researcher showed studies which backed both sides of the argument. They also used books and studies conducted by scientists such as Jane Goodall’s studies of chimpanzees.

The researcher concluded that Simians in fact do use language in order to communicate. There was a lot of research and information presented that suggested the researcher’s conclusion to be true. The researcher did a great job of bringing a lot of different view points to the presentation. I learned something after listening to him speak. He did a lot of research and showed multiple angles on the topic.

Posted by: Chris D at September 25, 2006 07:13 PM

The research presentation was about Simians and if their communication will ever be a language. The researcher’s thesis concerned the Simian communication and if it could be looked at as a language through the performance and comprehension of materials, key language properties and how animal’s intelligence has progressed from the past. Furthermore, the presenter most likely used websites, dictionaries, and books as his
main sources. From these sources, the researcher collected data on both perspectives. For instance, Professor Hobbs explained Chomsky’s point of view. Chomsky believes that people speak language but animals are able to communicate but can not use language. But also the presenter found a dictionary definition (Funk and Wagnall’s) which says
language is a transmission of emotions or ideas between any living creature by any means. This shows that there is a wide variety of beliefs on the topic.
In the PowerPoint presentation, the presenter put the website or the site of where he got the information on the bottom of the slides. This is also how I will cite my information in my presentation. To conclude the presentation, the presenter seems to believe that animals could have their own language because the linguist appeared to change the number of conditions that have to be present for it to be considered a language. This illustrates that linguists don’t want animals (such as Simian) included in this area of intelligence. In addition, the animal researchers say comprehension is the key for language. This demonstrates that Simians communication can be a language but linguists are doing everything in their power to keep it from being considered one. I think the researcher does a good job of proving his thesis because he used some ideas of highly respected people in their field. This helped him get both sides of the argument across and prove his thesis.

Jake M
Section 027

Posted by: Jake M at September 25, 2006 07:34 PM

In class last week, I was presented with a presentation on “Simian Communication and Language.” The question that was attempted to answer and the thesis provided was about the communication of animals. Does Simian communication even qualify as a language? The kind of data collected included pictures of animals working with different tools and language devices, news stories about different cases, such as Lucy and her cat, and different statistics that helped me get a grasp of the magnitude of certain things. If I had to answer the questions, I would have looked on different websites, found some scholarly papers, or maybe even watched a documentary of Jane Goodall.
Since I haven’t written my paper yet, I can't really say whether his presentation would have been similar or different from mine. I noticed he even cited the websites where he got his pictures. I know that having a lot of pictures kept my interest.
The linguist came to the conclusion at the end of the film that they still reject evidence of language usage in apes. They claim that their performance and comprehension are conditioned. I feel the same way. As much as I’d like to believe that they could just pick up on language, I think they’d have to see an example at first, remember it, and imitate it several times.

Brittany Molnar
Section 27

Posted by: Brittany M. at September 25, 2006 08:07 PM

9-26-06

The research presented on September 21st, 2006 explored the credibility of Simian language as a true language. It was the researcher's goal to determine whether or not this form of interaction, human-like communication done by apes and chimpanzees with each other and with other humans, was truly a language. The primary data that attempted to support this research included numerous examples of apes and chimpanzees that scientists believed could communicate, as well as theories of various scientists, philosophers, and linguists whose views the researcher believed matched or were consistent with the data found by the aforementioned animal researchers. The presentation of this data clearly articulated the researcher's position on the subject, and provided substantial proof that his argument, though it may be agreed with or disagree with, was scholarly.
The development of this presentation was very clear and organized. The researcher addressed ideas such as 'what is language?' and 'what qualifies something as a language' very early in the presentation so that the reviewer/reader could be thinking about these things and how they apply to thesis as the data in the second portion of the research project was presented. In general, I think that the researcher's thesis was adequately supported. Based on the presentation, it became clear to me that the researched believed that this communication system was a language, and the examples he presented clearly supported this view.

Vince W. ENGL 202-023

Posted by: Vince W. at September 25, 2006 08:28 PM

Professor Hobb’s presentation’s topic pertained to language of animals and more specifically the language between simians. He raised the question of, “Will simian communication ever qualify as a language?” During his presentation another important question that came up was what defines language. What is the difference between communication and language? The thesis dealt answering the research question. Hobbs utilized Hockett’s Key Language Properties which were 17 requirements that Hockett claimed that every language would have. If a language was missing one of the requirements then it was not a language.
The data that was collected was background information on past theorists defining language. Also Professor Hobbs provided background information of past research about teaching other orangutans to communicate with humans through special teaching. Professor Hobbs must have had to collect research from professional journals about science and also linguistics. To gain information such as this you could utilize the internet’s ebsco host or get hard copies of the professional journals in the library. To site his sources he gave a final slide with all his sources on a works cited slide. This is not different than a research paper because for a research paper we would use a list of works cited. In a documentary film the sources are visual and the people’s names are listed under their ideas.
Professor Hobbs final conclusion was that simian monkeys don’t speak using a “language” due to the facts that their language does not meet all 17 requirements set by the Hockett Key Language Properties. Hobbs did do a good job of answering his thesis because he was able to use 17 reasons why or why not simians use a true “language.”


Danny D.
sec 027

Posted by: Danny D. at September 25, 2006 09:30 PM

“Will Simian Communication Ever Qualify As a Language?”

In the power point the topic is simian communication as a language. The research question that is being examined is will simian communication ever qualify as a language. I believe the thesis of this film is although simian communication does not contain as many spoken terms, it should still be considered a language. By the end of the power point, I believe that you proved the thesis to be true. Simian communication should be classified as a language; otherwise, the deaf do not have a language either.
The kinds of data that you would have had to have collected would include items such as how many ways do simians communicate? Which one is the most popular? Where do most of the “talking” simians live? What is the most advanced one? I believe that these would also be the items in which you would need to find sources for. Other sources would include things such as internet sites with information and possibly zoo schedules. If I had to find these sources, my first place to look would be on the internet. In order to cite your sources throughout the PowerPoint, you provided viewers with the web addresses of the pictures you used. This is different from our research paper because it did not have to be a formal MLA citation. It’s different from a documentary film because there are no stationary pictures.

Amber B.
Sect. 023

Posted by: Amber B. at September 25, 2006 09:34 PM

The topic of the power point was about what language is. There is really no one specific definition of language. Hockett, a linguist, came up with seventeen properties that one must have to be considered a language. According to him, deaf people that use hand signals for communication is not a language. The data that was collected must have been from books, internet, and maybe some science magazines. He cited his work by putting his citations in small enough font at the bottom of certain slides to be out of the way. He went on to show that linguists are being stubborn, and do not know more about language then anyone else.

Ashley C.
English 202-23

Posted by: Ashley C. at September 25, 2006 09:36 PM


Simians were the topic of the research presentation we viewed in class. The researcher questioned whether or not Simians were able to communicate using language. Many views were voiced on the subject, and a lot of information was brought to the table. The thesis of this research presentation was that while Simians are primates, they can, and they do communicate using language.

To prove the thesis, the researcher collected data from previous scientific studies. The researcher showed studies which backed both sides of the argument. They also used books and studies conducted by scientists such as Jane Goodall’s studies of chimpanzees.

The researcher concluded that Simians in fact do use language in order to communicate. There was a lot of research and information presented that suggested the researcher’s conclusion to be true. The researcher did a great job of bringing a lot of different view points to the presentation. I learned something after listening to him speak. He did a lot of research and showed multiple angles on the topic.

-Chris Di Giacomo
Section 27

Posted by: Chris D at September 25, 2006 10:51 PM

Language can be defined through a number of various definitions. During the presentation, the different ideas of what language may truly be classified as were discussed. The presenter, “Professor Hobbs” took two ideas of language from opposite and conflicting views, then presented both parties main points as well as thoughts in defining language. Professor Hobbs used creatable researchers in addition to experiments when collecting data for his presentation. Finally, after listening to arguing sides of the classification of language, Professor Hobbs concluded that there is in fact no correct or incorrect definition of language. However, you the reader may construct or own definition of what language actually is.

Bryan M.
023

Posted by: Bryan M. at September 25, 2006 11:18 PM

“Simian Communication”

The topic of the power point is “Simian Communication”. This powepoint raises the question “Will Simian Communication ever Qualify as a Language?” This presentation shows that Simian Communication will qualify as a language someday by giving several definitions of the word language, showing Hockett’s Key Language Properties, and explaining performance vs. comprehension. They proved and presented this data through quotes from linguists, scientists, and animalists. They also collected and displayed many pictures of the gorillas and chimpanzees. To further his research he had interviews with scientists that studied languages and animals, the dictionary with several definitions, and used specialists such as Hockett that have established properties of language. In order to cite this people, the presentation used websites under pictures, names under quotes, and the titles of books, studies, and stories. To conclude the presentation they showed that according to the facts this form of communication technically should be considered a language, but linguists keep denying it and try to find more ways to prove why it is not. I think the researcher proved the thesis well, I now believe that the Simian communication should be a language.

Miki B.
Section 027

Posted by: Miki B at September 25, 2006 11:55 PM

Sample Presentation

The topic of the presentation was to determine whether or not monkeys have the ability to speak a language. The data collected to support the presenter’s presentation was from different sources such as books, interviews and journals. The presenter cited the sources at the bottom of the screen as well as the end of the presentation. At the end of the presentation the presenter told us that the monkeys have proven time and time again that they have the ability to speak the human language. Authorities keep changing the rules to make it harder for the monkey’s to pass and be recognized as having the ability to speak a language. The presenter did prove his thesis by backing it with facts throughout the presentation.

Bethany P.
Section 23

Posted by: bethany peck at September 26, 2006 12:17 AM

September 26 2006
Professor Hobbs,

The power point on simian communication was about monkeys that learn to communicate using hand signals and other things. It's been a debate for some time as to weather or not speaking means being able to express simple wants and needs or being able to express abstract ideas. The question the maker of this power point was trying to answer was are simians able to communicate with one another? His thesis was that they were, but i depended on how you define communication.

The presenter collected data from many sources. There are a lot of scholarly articles written on this subject by researchers in the field. I'd imagine that he collected a lot of his data from sources like this, but could have also taken data from videos about the topic. The power point used a lot of pictures to capture the audiences attention. The presenter cited his sources while he went at the bottom of the screen. In the end he concluded that simians are able to communicate basic ideas and sometimes combine more than one idea together, but it's still not an as proficient as humans. I think that the power point presentation is not a good way to present things so I'm saying this with a bias, but he could have done better. There could have been video clips during the presentation, especially for something like this and many other enhancements.

Sam H.
Section 023

Posted by: Sam H. at September 26, 2006 12:47 AM

Class Activity: September 21, 2006
Demo Presentation


The topic of the presentation given on September 21 was simian communication. The presenter’s research question formed from the topic was “Will simian communication ever qualify as a language?” The researcher believed that even though primates have been taught to communicate very well, specieism (the belief that one species is better then another) humans as a majority will never accept simian communication as a language. The research gathered different definitions on what language is. He then proceeded to talk about what the important linguist had to say on the subject. He also gave examples of how primates have been able to learn and communicate with other primates and their trainers using different methods. The researcher would cite his sources by stating were he got the information. For the pictures provided there were little captions giving the website that they came from. The conclusion drawn was that people don’t want to admit mammals that are not human can learn a language. This is why a set of 17 conditions (which started out as 13) must be met before considering another from of communication a language. Every time the conditions are met another condition is added. I believe that the researcher did an adequate job in proving his thesis. He gave definitions of languages and he informed us on what linguist thought. Then he proceeded to tell the 17 conditions of a language and how primates have met these conditions but simian communication is still not considered a language.

Michelle Wamboldt
Section 27
TR9:45-11:15

Posted by: Michelle W at September 26, 2006 08:07 AM

Scott M.
Section 27


The topic of the film that we watched on Thursday was about Simian communication and language. The research questions that this presentation attempted to answer, what is language, and history’s take on animal intelligence. The thesis of this presentation I thought was, if an animal can speak is it still an animal. The data collected that supported his thesis was collected by getting quotes and passages from old philosophers and experts in language. Other sources that Professor Hobbs had to collect were pictures from web sites and passages from books. The conclusion that Professor Hobbs I thought was drawing to say is that animals communicate but don’t use language. In my opinion the presenter of this power point did a very good job of getting his point across, and saying that the apes are trained just like Pavlov’s dog.

Posted by: Scott M at September 26, 2006 08:41 AM

The actual topic of the film is to not discuss if simians’ can speak a language, but rather if and when that language will ever considered real and understandable to the human ear by linguistics. There could be many research questions that this topic and presentation could have since it so interesting, but I think the focus was on the question of, “why isn’t the language of the simian not considered real after many years of experimental studies proving that humans and simians can communicate through technology and behavior?” There is a clear thesis; the presenter centered his presentation on what a language is and what its characteristics are. Basically, what would it take for linguistics and the human population to consider animals as having languages…and in this case the animals are simians. The data that was used was years and years of research and experiments that were conducted on simians by very qualified animal researchers. These research was the main source of collected data though he also used great scientists and philosophers of the past to help explain what the word “language” actually meant. If I personally was doing this topic and presentation and had to do it without interviews, I would focus on past studies and researching experiments that dealt with the language of simians, and I would focus on what languages were actually considered languages.
Some techniques that the presenter uses are to actually introduce who he is citing. He gives background information on who the philosophers and scientists are before he goes into detail on how they are important to his research question. I couldn’t exactly do this because my topic has hardly anything to do with past research and past experiments. There is no exact conclusion to this presentation, but more of a convincing argument on why the world should take serious consideration into including simian into the records of languages. I personally think that the presenter did an excellent job on getting his point of view across, there was so much information and research done that he convinced me that simians do in fact speak a language that we can understand.

Jackie D
Section 027

Posted by: Jackie DePietro at September 26, 2006 09:17 AM

The topic of the sample presentation was about Simian language, and is it really human language. The question at hand was, will Simian language be part of human language? The thesis of the presentation was Simian language, and can it be declared a language. The data in the presentation was using quotes from experts, and a visual aide to show the requirements for a language. I think that the presenter had to have read many printed sources. What the presenter used to cite the pages were, using the hyperlink for the pictures that were on the power point slides, and a bibliography page. The conclusion at the end of the presentation was that Simian language is actually a language, but the experts don’t want to claim it as a language and find ways to reject that Simian language is an actual language. The presenter did a good job presenting the information to the class. He used experts comments and an illustration of the components of a language with an example of some parts of Simian language that related to each component.

Posted by: Nathan Perry at September 26, 2006 09:30 AM

*NOTE* Deadline for this assignment has passed. Comments are no longer being accepted for this exercise.

Posted by: Lee at September 26, 2006 10:36 PM

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