By Jean Aitchison
Foreword to the Routledge Classics version Preface to the 1st variation. Preface to the 5th version. advent 1.The nice computerized grammatizator 2.Animals that try and speak 3.Grandmama's enamel 4.Predestinate grooves 5.A blueprint within the mind? 6.Chattering youngsters 7.Puzzling it out 8.Celestial unintelligibility 9.The white elephant challenge 10.The case of the lacking fingerprint 11.The Cheshire Cat's grin 12.Banker's clerk or hippopotamus? feedback for additional studying References Index
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Finally, we come to birds. They also have failed to give any evidence of creativity. We might expect them to communicate about a multiplicity of situations, since the individual notes of a bird’s song can be combined in an indeﬁnite number of ways. But as far as researchers can judge, birdsong deals animal s t h at t ry t o t al k above all with just two aspects of life: courting a mate, and the marking of territory (Nottebohm 1975; Marler 1991). A bird who appears to humans to be indulging in an operatic aria on the pleasures of life is more likely to be warning other birds not to encroach on its own particular area of woodland.
Chomsky 1972a: 100) Chomsky stressed that the creative aspect of language is normal. Humans produce novel utterances all the time, and anybody who does not is likely to be brain damaged: It is important to bear in mind that the creation of linguistic expressions that are novel but appropriate is the normal mode of language use. If some indi- t h e g reat aut o mat ic g rammat izat o r vidual were to restrict himself largely to a deﬁnite set of linguistic patterns, to a set of habitual responses to stimulus conﬁgurations .
Terrace’s critics point out that Nim was a highly disturbed young chimp. Due to frequent changes in those who taught him, Nim was insecure and maladjusted. They claim that his achievements are considerably lower than one might expect from a ‘normal’ animal. Others have argued that a computer analysis of chimp utterances that takes no account of the actual situation is bound to give an odd result. Negative results are to be expected if one chooses to simply: lump together four years’ worth of recorded utterances, remove all verbal and nonverbal context and grind the result through a computer to look for statistical regularities.