“Gavagai!” or the future history of the animal language controversy

  title={“Gavagai!” or the future history of the animal language controversy},
  author={David Premack},
  • D. Premack
  • Published 31 December 1985
  • Biology
  • Cognition
The faculty of language: what is it, who has it, and how did it evolve?
We argue that an understanding of the faculty of language requires substantial interdisciplinary cooperation. We suggest how current developments in linguistics can be profitably wedded to work in
The Question of Capacity: Why Enculturated and Trained Animals have much to Tell Us about the Evolution of Language
  • H. Lyn
  • Psychology, Biology
    Psychonomic bulletin & review
  • 2017
Experimental exploration of the capacities of nonhumans is the only option to determine which, if any, language-associated capacities are unique to humans.
EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY AND THE ORIGINS OF LANGUAGE (Editorial for the special issue of Journal of Evolutionary Psychology on the evolution of language)
A naive observer would be forgiven for assuming that the field of language evolution would, in terms of its scope and methodologies, look much like the field of evolutionary psychol- ogy, but with a
Evolutionary Linguistics: A New Look at an Old Landscape
This article explores the evolution of language, focusing on insights derived from observations and experiments in animals, guided by current theoretical problems that were inspired by the generative
The evolution of language: Sharing our mental lives
The Language of Animal Language Research: Reply to Schusterman and Gisiner
Language, as a cognitive process, is a legitimate, fruitful area of study in animal cognition. Its study in animals should not be encumbered by proscriptions against the use of linguistic terms
Symbol and Structure: A Comprehensive Framework for Language Evolution
An overall framework is proposed that would dissociate the symbolic element of language (words) from the structural element (syntax), since the two probably have distinct sources.
The language faculty that wasn't: a usage-based account of natural language recursion
It is argued that a language faculty is difficult to reconcile with evolutionary considerations, and that the authors' ability to process recursive structure does not rely on recursion as a property of the grammar, but instead emerges gradually by piggybacking on domain-general sequence learning abilities.
Evolution as a constraint on theories of syntax : the Case against Minimalism
This thesis investigates the evolutionary plausibility of the Minimalist Program and makes a comment on the manner in which theories of language can and should be constrained.


The language bioprogram hypothesis
Abstract It is hypothesized that creole languages are largely invented by children and show fundamental similarities, which derive from a biological program for language. The structures of Hawaiian
The codes of man and beasts
  • D. Premack
  • Computer Science, Psychology
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1983
Abstract Exposing the chimpanzee to language training appears to enhance the animal's ability to perform some kinds of tasks but not others. The abilities that are enhanced involve abstract judgment,
Apes and Language: The Search for Communicative Competence
In the years since Gardner and Gardner (1969), Patterson (1978), Premack (1972), and Rumbaugh, Gill, and Glaserfeld (1973) first demonstrated that apes could acquire a set of symbols (gestural signs,
Can an ape create a sentence?
More than 19,000 multisign utterances of an infant chimpanzee (Nim) were analyzed for syntactic and semantic regularities, showing similar non-human patterns of discourse.
The ontogenesis of speech acts
  • J. Bruner
  • Linguistics
    Journal of Child Language
  • 1975
ABSTRACT A speech act approach to the transition from pre-linguistic to linguistic communication is adopted in order to consider language in relation to behaviour generally and to allow for an
A functional analysis of language.
  • D. Premack
  • Linguistics
    Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior
  • 1970
This paper tries to give the most general answers possible to the questions of language, general in the sense of relieving them of their exclusively human form.
Animal languages and human language.
The only way to find out how human language differs from any variety of communicative behavior manifested by non-human or pre-human species is to itemize those design-features of human language which seem to be of crucial importance in making it possible for language to do what it does.
Word and Object
This edition offers a new preface by Quine's student and colleague Dagfinn Follesdal that describes the never-realized plans for a second edition of Word and Object, in which Quine would offer a more unified treatment of the public nature of meaning, modalities, and propositional attitudes.
Formal Principles of Language Acquisition
The authors of this book have developed a rigorous and unified theory that opens the study of language learnability to discoveries about the mechanisms of language acquisition in human beings and has important implications for linguistic theory, child language research, and the philosophy of language.