The Meaning of Primate Signals

The Meaning of Primate Signals


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Language is just one particularly highly developed form of primate communication. Recent years have seen increased attention to other forms: studies of animals in the wild, efforts to teach sign language to apes. This volume reflects perspectives from a variety of disciplines on the nature and function of primate signalling systems. Monkeys and apes, like people, live in a world in which they are constantly receiving and transmitting information. How can we interpret the ways in which they process it without imposing our own language-based categorizations? The problem is partly scientific, partly conceptual: that is, partly concerned with what language is. The authors' findings and insights will be of interest to a broad group of primatologists, linguists, psychologists, anthropologists and philosophers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521087735
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/11/2008
Series: Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction Series
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Part I. The Setting of the Problem: 1 Devious intentions of monkeys and apes? Duane Quiatt; 2. What the vocalizations of monkeys mean to humans and what they mean to monkeys themselves Robert M. Seyfarth; 3. Category formation in vervet monkeys Dorothy L. Cheney; Part II. Theoretical Preliminaries: 4. The strange creature Justin Leiber; 5. Vocabularies and theories Rom Harre; 6. Ethology and language Edwin Ardener; 7. Must monkeys mean? Roy Harris; 8. The inevitability and utility of anthopomorphism in description of primate behaviour Pamela J. Asquith; Part III. Steps towards a solution: 9. 'Language' in apes H. S. Terrace; 10. Social changes in a group of rhesus monkeys Vernon Reynolds; 11. Categorization of social signals as derived from quantitative analyses of communication processes M. Maurus and D. Ploog; 12. Experience tells Eric Jones and Michael Chance.

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