L'Educazione di Koko

Eugene Linden

Got as free gift when donated to Gorilla conservation trust (actually my main reason for donating)...

This book is truly excellent, it mixes all the fun (and serious) of psychological studies with lots of transcripts from conversations with Koko the first signing gorilla. Actually it paints a strange picture of koko. Half her sentences are entirely self centered, but some of them are really serious, and some of the transcripts are just amazing. Three quotes:

(Transcript with koko (the gorilla is signing)
KOKO: Do key do key. (I mold the sign open.) KOKO: Open. (I open the door and take her piggyback down the hall to turn down the heat. As I do so I mold ride.) KOKO (as we turn around to go back): Go there. When we returned, Koko tore around the trailer for a minute until I caught her and brought her back to the kitchen. She went to her potty and signed, Cat cat cat cat. Then she returned to the window to look at the cat, who was in the grass hunting. She signed, More there, took my chin in her hand, pointed to my mouth, and signed, More more there. Wondering if she wanted me to repeat the call I made to KC earlier, I signed, More cat say? She replied, Cat. So I again called, "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty," to her apparent delight and satisfaction

(interesting old theory)
The attempts to impart sign language to chimps and to Koko have also enlivened another line of research. The fact that our closest primate relatives can learn a gestural language even though they cannot talk has renewed interest in an old idea –namely, that mankind’s first language was gestural, and that speech evolved after man first developed the ability to control his actions purposefully in the form of making tools and using a rudimentary sign language. This hypothesis is compelling because, if true, it suggests a single origin for the disparate collection of abilities common to logic, language, and technology

(depth of understanding from a gorilla)
KOKO: Dead drapes. MAUREEN: Let’s make sure, is this gorilla alive or dead? KOKO: Dead good bye. MAUREEN: How do gorillas feel when they die –happy, sad, afraid? KOKO: Sleep. Koko seems to think of death as peaceful and secure. Several times she has used the word drapes to modify death. This impression is reinforced by the way she links the feeling of death and sleep. There is also evidence that this is not a case of mere confusion, since Koko gets quite upset when asked what will happen when she or I dies. Once when Maureen asked, “Do you think Penny will die?” Koko fidgeted for about ten seconds and then only signed, Damn! On the other hand, if the talk is about death in general Koko does not find the subject so terrifying: MAUREEN: Where do gorillas go when they die? KOKO: Comfortable hole bye. MAUREEN: When do gorillas die? KOKO: Trouble old

Book tags: l'educazione, koko, epub, download, epub, eugene linden

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