For instance, teaching of sign language to chimpanzee
There have been extended attempts to teach chimpanzees, in particular, American Sign Language or a language consisting of meaningful abstract symbols on plastic chips. Such attempts force us to consider what we mean by “using language”. If a chimpanzee can deploy abstract signs, can refer to absent entities, but displays little in the way of syntactic structure in utterances, do we wish to claim that certain aspects of “human language” have been mastered? If chimpanzees can achieve greater competence in comprehension than in production, what do we wish to conclude about the relative roles of comprehension and production in general language competence? Later in the course we consider non-human primate language in more detail.