As a writer, I choose my words carefully. As an editor, I have helped many other writers choose their words carefully. So do I want readers to be able to read the exact words that were actually written? Of course I do! That seems like a stupid question. However, some prominent professors of education have taught that children should use “cues,” guesswork, and their own expectations to generate their own narrative, instead of reading the words that the writer actually wrote. I feel that unless the children are reading the words that were actually written, they are not really reading. No real communication from writer to reader is taking place.
Forget what you saw in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Apes can’t make sentences, even if someone has tried really hard to teach them sign language. The documentary Project Nim describes one attempt to teach sign language to a chimpanzee:
The chimpanzee used in this experiment was named Nim Chimpsky, which was a mocking reference to the linguist Noam Chomsky, who had predicted that no such experiment would work. Chomsky said that it’s about as likely that an ape will prove to have a language ability as there is an island somewhere with a species of flightless birds waiting for humans to teach them to fly. In other words, if apes could use language, they’d be doing so already.
Continue reading “Can an Ape Create a Sentence?”