Monday, 8 August 2011

Orang utans can learn English in a few months

I'm sure this is just a case of very bad reporting. I'm sure that this scientist is not crazy. 

The link is to a Sarawak Star article about a Dr Francine Neago, who wants to set up a centre to teach language skills to orang utans. Nothing new here, no. But the article says things like "Dr Neago said it would take a few months for the orang utan to learn English", and "tests had proven that a primate could acquire sign language and phonetic spelling skills". She clearly doesn't mean that tests have shown that a primate can fully acquire language, as it then says "she taught a one-year-old orang utan named Bulan to express itself through the computer by learning to use up to 150 words", and 150 words is not 'sign language'. But this really is quite spectacularly sloppy reporting, even for a local paper. 

No comments:

Post a Comment