Linguistics and English Language

Language evolution seminar

Speaker: Zanna Clay (Department of Psychology, Durham University)

Title: Vocal communication in our great ape relatives, the bonobos and chimpanzees: Insights into the evolution of language

Abstract: Our capacity for language is a central aspect of what it means to be human and sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Given that language does not fossilize, one way to understand how and when it first evolved is to examine the communicative capacities of our closest living relatives, the great apes. In this talk, I will review recent research that explores natural communication in our ours closest living relatives, the bonobos and the chimpanzees. I will primarily focus on what their natural vocal communication can tell us about their underlying social awareness and how this relates to the evolution of language. I report findings that highlight considerable communicative complexity, flexibility, and intentionality which, cumulatively, suggest that many of the building blocks for language are deeply rooted in our primate past.

Contact

Seminars are organised by the Centre for Language Evolution

Andres Karjus

Centre for Language Evolution

Oct 09 2018 -

Language evolution seminar

2018-10-09: Vocal communication in our great ape relatives, the bonobos and chimpanzees: Insights into the evolution of language

Room G32, Psychology Building, 7 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JZ