High life chimp communication

This picture is a collage of drawings showing cartoon chimps communicating with each other. One drawing states, “Chimps have things to say to each other, just like humans do. Its not surprising they are our closet relative. But chimps don’t use words, they hoot and grunt and make faces and gestures instead.” It would be interesting to critique this argument based on the design features of human language: Arbitrariness, Productivity, Discreteness, Duality, Displacement, Cultural Transmission, Interchangeability.

For example, words are signs and chimps use signs so that is not sufficient to make the distinction being made here. However, productively of the language (a.k.a Creativity) is certainly a main property this article is alluding to.

In the air this month. (2013, August). High Life: magazine for British Airways, page 13.


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