Functional Dimensions of Ape-Human Discourse - James D. Benson

Functional Dimensions of Ape-Human Discourse - James D. Benson


Functional Dimensions of Ape-Human Discourse - James D. Benson

James D. Benson [+-]
York University, Toronto
James D. Benson is Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar in the English at Glendon College, York University, Toronto. He is co-author (with William S. Greaves) of You and Your Language: The Kinds of English you Use (Pergamon Press, 1984).


PAPERBACK PUBLISHED JULY 2009 Functional Dimensions of Ape-Human Discourse asks the question ‘what do interactions between apes and humans mediated by language tell us?’. In order to answer this question the authors explore language-in-context, drawing on a multi-leveled, multi-functional linguistics. The levels are context of culture, context of situation, semantics, lexicogrammar, and phonology; and the functions are ideational, interpersonal, and textual. Chapter One discusses a negotiation between the bonobo Kanzi and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh in terms of discourse-semantics and the ideational and interpersonal metafunctions of lexicogrammar. Chapter Two reinterprets Sue Savage-Rumbaugh et. al. Language Comprehension in Ape and Child (1993) in terms of the ideational metafunction, and provides corroborative evidence for Kanzi’s symbolic processing abilities, opening a window into the consciousness of at least one non-human primate. Chapter Three compares three snapshots from comprehensive studies based on large amounts of data (monkey calls, language development in a human child, and a dialogue between Kanzi’s sibling Panbanisha and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh) from an evolutionary perspective, showing different ways in which the level of grammar comes to be wedged in between semantics and expression. Chapter Four articulates a methodology incorporating public domain software for the comprehensive analysis of ape-human interaction. Although bonobo-human interaction is used as an example, the methodology could be utilized for studies of chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.

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Benson, James D. . Index. Functional Dimensions of Ape-Human Discourse. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 120-122 Nov 2005. ISBN 9781845536534. Date accessed: 25 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.22020. Nov 2005

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