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Gavagai!
Author: David Premack

ISBN: 9780262661805
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 96
Published: 17 January 1986
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 13.6 x 2.5
Description:


If we meet an extraterrestrial who keeps shouting "gavagai!", how are we to decode its meaning? Do bees and dolphins possess a linguistic competence? Did the chimpanzees Sara, Washoe, and Nim acquire a human-like language?In this book, Premack examines our human fascination with using language as a tool to our understanding of ourselves. He clearly and wittily untangles the complex skein of arguments, put forth since Darwin's time, over whether we are unique because we can talk. Gavagai! examines the arguments of the biologists interested in the evolutionary significance of "talking" chimpanzees, the problems confronted by linguists trying to determine what language is, and the theories entertained by psycholinguists and philosophers.Communication is a poor way to characterize what is unique in humans, Premack argues, and language alone an even poorer measure of our uniqueness. Taking us into the animal lab, he introduces us to the trials and tribulations of Sara, Peony, Elizabeth...

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