Bow and Literacy

For a long time I've held off on publishing the next part of the story, for many reasons. This is the place where Bow's development shatters what everyone has believed so far about the cognitive abilities of chimpanzees. This is a contribution to science, and it ought to be published in a scientific journal, not on Hubpages.

I've tried to find the right forum in which to publish our breakthrough, but it has been rejected there. Some of my colleagues in primatology believe that I should just sit on the findings, until I have more proof -- enough proof to convince the most skeptical. Enough proof to get funding. Enough proof to make all our problems go away.

However, it's been over a year, and I believe that Bow and I have to hold on for the long haul. The sort of objective, double-blind testing that the scientific establishment wants will not be forthcoming anytime soon, for reasons that I will explain in detail in later hubs. Meanwhile we still have to live, eat fresh food and pay our bills. We have to keep doing what we're doing, even if there is no support. And we have to share this with the public, because people need to know that we exist, that we haven't given up, and that what has been published about chimpanzees is not all there is to know.

Bow in the Summer of 2007
Bow in the Summer of 2007

July 17, 2007

Brown Mouth Incident
Brown Mouth Incident

Brown Mouth

The last installment of Bow's story ended with the "Brown Mouth" incident. He was still using lexigrams, but now he was using them creatively, not just to ask for things, but to comment on events that he surmised had taken place outside his view. Eden had had cereal. Bow let her know that he knew this. He used the lexigram BROWN to refer to cereal. He used the lexigram "MOUTH" to refer to Eden's mouth. The utterance had a non-grammatical topic-comment type of structure.The topic was the cereal. The comment was that it had gone into Eden's mouth.Or at any rate, that her mouth smelled that way.

But is that language? Reams have been written on less impressive examples. But I'm not going to waste my breath, because the next thing that happened makes this pale in comparison.

Spelling Begins on August 17, 2007

For some time now, during the months of June and July of 2007, Eden and I had noticed that Bow was showing signs of literacy. We would put up a number of new lexigrams -- words Bow had never seen before -- and he would choose the right one to ask for what he wanted, without trial and error. We kept asking ourselves how he did this.

For instance, we put out a tent for Bow to play with. Two other unfamiliar words were posted along with the word for tent, which he also had never seen as a lexigram. (However, the word was in his vocabulary for spoken English.) He went directly for the lexigram tent without hesitating. The same thing happened when we presented the Hebrew word for tent as a lexigram for the first time with two other unfamiliar words.

Other things that made us suspect that Bow was relying on spelling were the fact that he often confused words that were spelled similarly, even if they meant completely different things. The Hebrew word for "chicken", and the Hebrew word for "chase" both end and begin with a taff. Bow sometimes confused them, but he did not confuse words for different foods or different games. Clearly, it was the spelling -- the sequence of letters that composed the lexigram -- that caught his attention.

One day, (August 17, 2007, to be exact), Eden decided to try an experiment to test Bow's ability to spell. I gave her a little hand-held computer like device that had a tiny keyboard. She took Bow into the outer pens and asked him how to spell his name. Without hesitation, Bow pressed the B, and the B came on the screen. He then pressed the O, but much more lightly, and the O did not appear on the screen. Then he stopped. He would not press the W, no matter what.

Encouraged by this incident, Eden took down all the lexigrams from the glass and replaced them with English letters. She posted the letters on the glass in no particular order. Some of the letters were posted in duplicate, in more than one spot. Then she brought Bow in, placing a selection of foods in his view. What follows is a transcript of what happened. (The reference numbers are to video clips that were later transcribed.)

August 17, 2007

Bow spells out what he wants for the fist time with Eden
Bow spells out what he wants for the fist time with Eden

Bow could spell. He was sometimes lazy, and he sometimes left out vowels. His first attempt at the word "red" was "R-D". But he had no problem coming up with "R-E-D" when pressed. He also didn't like to spell out final, silent Es, as in the word "blue". Eden had to really pressure him. He preferred the spelling "B-L-U". An yet it's not because he didn't remember the sequence of letters. When Eden demanded that he spell it correctly, he could. He just didn't seem to see the point of that finale "E".

Which brings us to the most important aspect of Bow's spelling: Bow had not simply memorized a sequence of letters. He understood the phonemic principle. He understood what different letters contributed to the sounds of a word. He didn't seem nearly as motivated to use letters that contributed nothing to the overall sound.

Hebrew Spelling for the First Time

That very evening, energized by Bow's success in English, I took down the English letters and put up Hebrew. The transcript is numbered 7-18, because the clip wasn't downloaded from the camera until the next day, and the software had this annoying habit of labeling things by the day they were downloaded rather than the day they were shot. But it was that very evening, around 5:00pm, at dinner time. It was raining and thundering and lightening outside, and it was very dark in the pens. During one sequence, the lights went out for a second, when Bow was in the middle of spelling a word. When the lights came back on, he just kept on spelling. He didn't forget his place. I was really impressed with him!

August 17, 2007 5:00 pm --(downloaded following day)

Bow spells out what he wants for the first time with Aya
Bow spells out what he wants for the first time with Aya

So, here is a translation into English of the exchange printed above in clip 07081801-1::

AYA: What do you want? Who wants something?

BOW: Bow.

AYA: Bow wants something, right. What does Bow want to eat? How many? How many do you want?

BOW: 2.

AYA: What do you want 2 of?

BOW: Banana.

August 17, 2007 --dinner continued....1

asking for a yellow banana
asking for a yellow banana

Banana clip continued

I went and got the two bananas that he had requested. (There were two bananas on the little serving table.) Then the following exchange (07081801-2) occurred:

AYA: What's this?

BOW: 2

AYA: Two what?

BOW: Banana.

AYA: Give me one. How many are left?

BOW: 1.

AYA: What color?

BOW: zadi - hey

AYA: What else?

BOW: vav -- bet

AYA: Yellow, right.

[zadi-hey-vav-bet spells the Hebrew word for yellow.]

Typographical Errors that Demonstrate Phonetic Ability

I'm not going to bore you with everything that Bow said that evening. In some ways it was all rather routine. These were the same sorts of things he had been saying for a long time using lexigrams, but now he was spelling them out. However, I will point out one error that he made. In spelling out the word for red, he used a non-final mem.

In Hebrew, some letters look a little different when they appear at the end of a word. A final mem and a non-final mem sound exactly the same. They just look different. Bow had always seen the Hebrew lexigram for the word "red" (adom) with a final mem at the end. If he had just memorized the sequence of letters, then he would have a chosen a final mem. That he made a typographical error, and pointed at a non-final mem, shows that he wasn't spelling from a visual memory. He was spelling from sound. He understood the phonetic representation in the Hebrew spelling system! This was a much bigger deal than the fact that he could request foods by name, or that he knew that two bananas minus one banana equaled one banana.

This was really big! This was literacy!

August 17, 2007 --dinner continued ...2

Bow made a mistake; he used a non-final mem.
Bow made a mistake; he used a non-final mem.

Translation of Clip 07081801-5

AYA: Now tell me what. Tell me what color this is.

BOW: Red. (alef-daled-vav-mem).

AYA: Not final mem? That's pretty close.

Grammatical Morphology: Plural endings

Up to this point, Bow's Hebrew and his English had this sort of pidgin quality. They sounded, when read out loud, like what Tarzan or Tonto or Frankstein's monster's language sound like in the movies -- all content words, but none of the grammatical markers that characterize human speech.

Why? Is it because chimpanzees can't do grammar? No. It was because he was using lexigrams -- and lexigrams can't do grammar.

All this was about to change. The next day, I took down the letters, put the familiar lexigrams back up, except that I added, using big red Hebrew letters, the plural ending -im (masculine plural) and -ot (feminine plural). I wanted to see if Bow knew how to use them. He did!

August 18, 2007

Bow recognizes the plural endings right away!
Bow recognizes the plural endings right away!

Translation of 077081803-1

AYA: Now I will show you two things. One of them says -im and one of them says -ot. Which one says -ot?

BOW: vav-taff.

AYA: Which one says -im?

BOW: yod- final mem.

AYA: That's great!

August 18, 2007

using the plural endings
using the plural endings

Use of the Plural Endings

In the clip to the right, Bow used the masculine plural ending on the masculine noun for apple. I'm not going to bother to translate the clip here, because what's interesting about it is the grammar, not the content. Bow was no longer using pidgin Hebrew. He had grammatical agreement for gender and number.

What's important to understand here is that I didn't teach this grammar to Bow. I just showed him that he could use the grammar he already knew because he could spell it out. Once this point was established, I took down the lexigrams, and Bow spelled out whatever he wanted. He needed no explicit instruction in grammar. Many other grammatical paradigms simply came to him. I never had to cue him into using them.

I have taught Hebrew on the college level. This kind of grammatical feat is very hard for non-native speakers to get into the habit of doing. It was not hard for Bow, because he had been exposed to Hebrew all his life. Spelling out words freed him to express everything that he had already internalized. In one day he went from no grammar to full grammar!

August 23, 2007

Spelling out words with plural endings
Spelling out words with plural endings

Clip 070823-01-3 Feminine Plural Endings

BOW: Bow wants

AYA: What? What does Bow want?

BOW: 2

AYA: Two what?

Bow: Bananas. (feminine plural).

AYA: What color are they?

BOW: Yellow. (feminine plural),

Aya: What other color are they?

BOW: and black. (feminine plural.)

Spelling in English

English spelling is far less predictable than Hebrew spelling. Bow's English lagged behind his Hebrew, partially for this reason. So, at a time when he had become fluent in Hebrew spelling, Bow was still having difficulty spelling some English words for which he had never had a lexigram.

There were lots of thunderstorms that August. In the following clip, Bow confided to Eden that he was worried because of the rain. Note how he spelled "rain".

August 24, 2007

Bow spells "worry" correctly, but uses unusual spelling for "rain"
Bow spells "worry" correctly, but uses unusual spelling for "rain"

Bows Hebrew Fluency

With Eden, Bow was still using one word utterances. With me, he had full sentences at this point. He was conjugating verbs. He was using full grammar that he had never been explicitly taught.

Playing with water -- August 28, 2007

Bow conjugates verbs without ever having been taught
Bow conjugates verbs without ever having been taught

Translation of Clip 07082804-9

AYA: What are you doing with the water?

BOW: Playing.

AYA: Water is not a game. (Aya takes the water. Bow maKes noises) Are you angry with me?

BOW: Yes.

AYA: Why are you angry?

BOW: Because I wanted water.

AYA: Do you still want water?

BOW: Yes.

AYA: Will you drink the water?

BOW: Yes.

As dialogues go, these are very bland. Since then, Bow has said much more interesting things. He can say anything that comes into his mind now. Very often, he tells lies. He is also free to express complex emotions. He schemes. He plans.

However, from a purely linguistic point of view, these dialogues are pretty amazing. Bow has grammar. He can spell out words he has never seen written before. He has picked up the ambient language, like any native speaker. Like many a bilingual child, he is more fluent in one language than in the other, but he does know both.

You would think that the scientific community would be encouraged by these developments. All this was achieved without government funding or any kind of institutional support. It hasn't cost the public one red cent.

In later hubs I will discuss the difficulties we have encountered in making these findings part of the scientifc canon.

(c) 2008 Aya Katz

When Sword Met Bow

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Comments 124 comments

Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 7 years ago

Thank you sooooooooooo much for sharing this amazing communication!! Keep us all posted!!

Blessings always, Earth Angel!!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Earth Angel, thanks for your support!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

incredible, and thank you for writing this hub so many more people can recognise how intelligent chimpanzee's really are. Keep them coming :)


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Misty, thanks for dropping by. I appreciate your encouragement!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

This is highly educational, and amazing, you should be encouraged as much as possible :)


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Am totally fascinated by the work that you do. Wonderful hub!

My grandmother would have absolutely been writing you. In the late 1940s, while working at a Hollywood studio as a costume designer, she gave up a week's pay and lived on peanut butter, shredded wheat, and sardines to rescue a chimpanzee that someone was keeping in a cage 24/7. So my early childhood, up until the age of six, was spent with this "extra" sibling. She swore he could understand her in both English and Cajun French and that he was so much more than a "trained" animal. She would have had a lot of questions for you.

Aya -- It's nice to see someone so determined and so intelligent. Hope you continue to write more hubs on this.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jerilee, thanks for dropping in. What happened to your "extra sibling" after you turned six?


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

I'm not sure and gram passed away a couple of years ago.  She had him for several years before I was born and I know that he had been a performer in some Hollywood movies. 

I do remember visiting him after he left, and his exit from our daily lives coincided with the birth of my sister. It may be that my mother decided with Gram raising her three kids, that he had to go elsewhere. My mother wasn't very fond of some of his habits.

Somewhere I have some of Grama Daisy's notes, photos, and 1930s books on chimpanzees that you are welcome to, if they are of any interest.  I can't lift anything for a few weeks because of the mastectomy, but I know I saw them recently in one of our unpacked boxes.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Wow, Jerilee, that is very generous. I am kind of curious, although to tell you the truth I'm still trying to battle the clutter here from the last couple of years. Take good care of yourself during the recovery period! Maybe later you could dig through your grandmother's notes and photos and put together a hub about it.

Chimpanzees can live into their sixties and beyond in captivity. How old was your adopted sibling when you last saw him?


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

I'm thinking he was born in the 1930s because one of the books she had, had a picture of him in it and I remember her pointing that out. I think he may have been as old as 17, when I was born in 1949. The last memory I have of visiting him, I was probably 13. It upset my grandmother a lot that he could not live with us.

Might do a hub someday, but have this loooooooong list of probable hubs I'm working through. Writer's block doesn't exist in my world.

The people she gave him to ran a mom and pop motel with a "zoo" of sorts on the side for reptiles in the Arizona desert, but he was not part of that. I do believe he was well cared for and loved by them, although they were in their 50s when we visited last. I can only pray that he didn't end up in a bad place with more strangers in his later years.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

When Bow lies, what is it he expects from doing it? Does he lie to manipulate, or merely to escape a scolding or something?

This is really great reading, thanks for sharing, btw. Good stuff for sure!


sharonsarah profile image

sharonsarah 7 years ago

Wow what a nice hub. Your Bow is looking so pretty. I am really appriciating you. You have done a great job at Bow.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

I've always suspected that chimps in particular, but also many other animals, would have plenty to say, if they only had the means to do so. It sounds as though you have provided that means, and Bow is responding brilliantly. I'm looking forward to hearing more about Bow's progress.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Aya - that was incredible! Thanks so much for sharing - if only we wouldn't dumb down animals so we could dominate them - here's to more power to them with Bow leading the way!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Shadesbreath, Bow's motives for lying vary. Sometimes it is straight manipulation -- getting someone to act on false information. Sometimes it's more complicated. I'll give examples in succeeding hubs...

SharonSarah, Amanda Severn and Shalini Kagal, thanks for the encouragement!


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

Like, out of a sense of humor?  That would be awesome!  I can't wait to read more.  Keep up the great work, and I hope you find people in the scientific community to appreciate (with cash) your fascinating work.  Just think, kids working on primate studies will be reading about your work generations from now in their college text books! 


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Shadesbreath, yes, he does have a sense of humor!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

I look forward to more of these hubs. We had an installation here attached to the University through grant finding. It studied chimp communication. However, the professor in charge went one day and the chimps had been taken away to a chimp refuge in Texas, where some of them died soon. She was devastated.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Patty, thanks for dropping by.

The professor you mentioned isn't by any chance Sally Boysen, is she? I have written a hub about her:

http://hubpages.com/education/Profile-in-Primatolo...

This kind of research is very dependent on having a long term, personal relationship with individual apes. When the relationship is interfered with, the results are tragic for both humans and non-humans involved.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

Thanks for that link. I think she is the one!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Aya, I've been following you and Bow for a while on HubPages, and I'm finding myself drawn into this story, from the perspectives of both emotions and science. I hope the two of you can find that path to publication for what is clearly an extraordinary relationship between primate and human as well as a significant contribution to linguistics.

I am amazed by a chimpanzee who communicates in both English and Hebrew and who is perhaps as linguistically adept as a human child.

Looking forward to the next chapters.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Patty, thanks for dropping back in. If you have any updates on the Sally Boysen story, let me know. It sounds as if you might be closer to the source.

Sally's Trove, thanks for your comment. I appreciate the encouragement.


bad70amx profile image

bad70amx 7 years ago from Missouri

Sorry i got the pic to work now (w.blue) aka


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Aya - that's a fantastic story. Thanks for posting it here.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Bad70amx, Thanks for the picture!

Paraglider, thanks for your encouragement. I know you are interested in the scientific paradigm, so hopefully you'll have some helpful input when I post new hubs that address the issue of "proof" and "falsifiable hypotheses" directly.


Melissa G profile image

Melissa G 7 years ago from Tempe, AZ

Wow--mind blowing stuff! Great work with Bow, Aya! And I hope you find a way to share these remarkable findings with the scientific community.

Best of luck with your research!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Melissa, thanks for your comment and your encouragement.


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 7 years ago from Oregon, USA

This is amazing. Document the crap out of it. You will be the famous one someday I believe in you.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Hot dorkage, thanks! We do document, but that's not the problem. The scientific community requires double blind tests, in which neither the tester nor the subject know what the answer is. Bow, whose experience with language has always been in context, refuses to do tests that are obviously just tests and not a real conversation. We had this problem with him since before he became literate, even when we were doing lexigrams holistically. I will eventually write a hub about our problems with proof.


Moon Daisy profile image

Moon Daisy 7 years ago from London

That's an amazing hub, and you're doing some great work there!  Chimps are obviously extremely intelligent animals, they're so genetically close to us that it makes sense.  And I'm sure that lots of other animals are much more intelligent and able to learn than we give them credit for, and it's a shame that more people don't see that.  It's so impressive that you're doing this work to prove it.

And it's funny how the things that Bow does and 'says' remind me of my  conversations with my almost-three year old; such as how he grudgingly backed down in the water conversation so that you didn't take it away from him (as well as the scheming and planning!)  It's very impressive that he can now say anything that he wants to, and the grammatic jumps that he's made are even more so.

I hope you somehow manage to get the proof you need to get the attention of the scientific community, and some funding.  And I'm looking foward to reading more!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Moon Daisy, thanks for your comment and your encouragement!


Nila 7 years ago

Hello, Aya.

How long has it been? I hope you are doing well. Jeff and I miss you. As for Bow, you know well that the implications of your claims for all we know about language (for all fields of science involved with language) are huge. We are talking about not only aquisition of complex grammar by an animal, but of grammar of two distinct languages AND their written systems. You know well that something this big must be documented solidly and it must be possible that it may be verified by members of the scienfic community outside of your group. You know I've always been a fan of yours. I am waiting to hear more on this. Keep up the good work Aya.

We are in Texas, we would love to come visit you (or vice-versa) someday.

Felicidades.

Nila


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nila,

Very nice to hear from you. Would love to see you and Jeff and let you meet Bow in person... and to experience the difficulties concerning proof, first hand.

Email is the best way to arrange this.


ngureco profile image

ngureco 7 years ago

I am getting drawn into your findings on Bow and I believe I’ll remain a little longer with your hubs on the subject of Bow.

But how I wish you can have a way of linking all hubs on Bow in such a way that one can immediately know which hub was written before the other.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ngureco, thanks for your interest. One way to find out which hubs were written first and which later is to browse through my hubs, selecting "Latest" as the default, rather than "Best" or "Hot." The hubs will then be arranged chronologically, with the latest coming first and the earliest coming last.


ngureco profile image

ngureco 7 years ago

Good... so I have to go to your Profile and select all Hubs by Aya Katz and then Latest. This thought did not come to me. Thank you.


Christie 7 years ago

Why don't you use publicity to your advantage? Something along the lines of videotaping this experience using some kind of computer which voices what he types. I imagine it would be newsworthy, at least. You could even plan an event where you are fed questions that you haven't known in advance live from an earpiece and record what Bow answers - so no one will think you specifically trained or planned his answers. I think the scientific community would be very interested in an experiment like that, even if it's not a published article.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Christie, thanks for your comment and the suggestions. We have thought of all these possibilities, and are still working on some of them, but implementing is harder than you would think. We used laminated sheets because Bow would destroy any computer device we just left with him. (We started out thinking we would use a device intended for language impaired individuals, and gradually moved to laminated sheets with lexigrams on them, which eventually had to be posted on the other side of the glass from Bow. Now we post the letters this way, as you can see clearly in the 2007 DVD.)

Recently, I was going to apply for a grant to get a touchscreen computer and to have it sound out what Bow spells. But because of some regulations currently in effect that ban funding research with animals that is not under the auspices of an institution with an animal care committee, my colleague and I were not able to apply for the grant. The current academic and bureaucratic establishment is very hostile toward people who live with chimpanzees in a non-zoo environment.

For purposes of establishing that it is Bow who is spelling, more is involved than just a touch screen. If the machine simply sounded out the letters at the rate that Bow would type them without assistance, we, the human researchers, could not make out what he was saying fast enough to respond in context. Bow needs an immediate response from us, or we can't have a conversation. He doesn't answer questions for rewards.

What we need is a text-to-speech program that would sound things out in real time, so that we could respond to what Bow says.  That way, we could be blindfolded and still know what Bow said and respond in time. But, text to speech is really hard, especially for Hebrew without pointing. Much of the disambiguation of unpointed Hebrew words is done by the reader through an understanding of the discourse context. So this would require the service of a top notch programmer with AI capabilities.


Jason West 7 years ago

Wow, that is truly amazing indeed.

www.anonweb.pro.tc


andrea east  7 years ago

Why is there no video?


nils guillermin 7 years ago

all the 'come over here bow' 'what, bow, say it again' reminds me of a hyperactive child. Considering he's apparently able to spell and form words, I'm now wondering if it was just a matter of teaching him correctly :) I'm obviously pro-'stop making little kids sit still, it doesn't mean they're not listening', I would find it hilarious if chimpanzees were actually fully capable of doing this almost as well as humans, we just haven't been teaching them correctly.


cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 7 years ago from North Carolina

Great job.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jason West, thanks for your comment!

Andrea East, there is video footage of this here:

http://hubpages.com/education/The-Project-Bow-2007

Nils, yes, Bow is hyperactive in human terms. It's not so much that the teaching methods in the past have been inffective. In many cases, the chimp did learn, but the humans couldn't see it, because the output was too fast. There's some evidence that native speakers of ASL were able to see chimps sign things that other humans couldn't see, because they weren't processing ASL fast enough. Now suppose that the chimps were even faster in some cases than ASL speakers could see. That would make the experiment a success, but it would completely inaccessible to the experimenter.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Cgull8m, thanks!


Ryan 7 years ago

"You would think that the scientific community would be encouraged by these developments. All this was achieved without government funding or any kind of institutional support. It hasn't cost the public one red cent."

Ha, that's exactly why they aren't encouraged by it.

Keep up the good work!


Brian Weisberg 7 years ago

What an amazing breakthrough, thank for sharing your findings and hopefully you recieve the recongition that you deserve. Please continue working hard, great minds will always be feared by those that don't understand the importance of scientific progress.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ryan, thanks! You may be right.

Brian Weisberg, thanks for the encouragement!


Brian 7 years ago

Science is a process, not a body of knowledge. The "Scientific Community" would take this perfectly seriously if further observations took place in a controlled setting. I want this to be PERFECTLY clear: if you continue to post your observations without changing the method in which the observations were made, you will not be taken seriously.

It isn't you, and it isn't your findings or your ape. It's a matter of data collection, and it's important. Science is about eliminating alternative explanations, not about "proving" something in one shot. Your best bet is to talk with a local university about Bow, ask what should be done to raise awareness and hopefully publish your findings, and then do that in an appropriate setting.

I don't get what the problem is. Why do you refuse to do this with such an extraordinary animal?


LinzE 7 years ago

This probably the coolest thing I have read or heard about in sometime, and that is saying something because I absolutely hate science. (just the subject not the people in the community of it ;) )

You did state that he is more fluent in one language than the other. Is it the same for both spelling and speaking. i.e. Does he speak hebrew more clearly than english or visa versa?

And probably goes without asking, but his speech in both languages has gotten clearer as well since beginning to speak?

Kudos to both of you for finding something you are passionate about and being able to do it on your own! Keep us posted with the updates!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Brian, I understand exactly what you are saying. When I started out, I thought it would take about three years to get publishable results, and then we would move to a university setting, where other experts would also weigh in and contribute their knowledge in designing experiments to prove or disprove the results I got. First of all, it took longer than I thought it would before we broke the communication barrier. I hadn't known about the speed issue. None of the literature I read on ape language studies prepared me for that. Secondly, when I started to make overtures to specific experts and their universities with an idea that Bow and I could join their programs, I was universally denied access.

There were one or two who were open-minded as individuals and wanted to collaborate, but their institutions were closed-minded about the whole thing.

Bow needs to socialize with other chimpanzees. They are not even allowing him to do so via Skype. They talk about issues of animal control issues or disease containment, but the only virus he could pass to another chimp or bonobo via the internet would be a computer virus!

Just recently a professor from an accredited university did want to collaborate on an experiment, but it became clear that this could not be done without jeopardizing the funding of that university from government sources.

The politics of this field of research is very complicated.


Amazing 7 years ago

Clearly, that one didn't learn how to communicate as well as a chimp.


cod68 7 years ago

yea i dont know what his ^ problem is but i think this is rly some amazing stuff with really amazing implications.


Moon212 7 years ago

Scientist underestimate the ability of animals especially those that are very closely related to our genes such as the chimpanzees. It's understandable how the use of everyday language can have a great influence in learning literacy for an animal. If the language is heard everyday and is thought how to spell I do believe that is learnable. However, not just any animal. You know parrots and cackatoos minds are also developing in understanding counting, spelling, and color and item distinguishing.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

LinzE, thanks for your comment and questions. Yes, Bow is more fluent both in spelling Hebrew and in using it grammatically. When you say "speaking", I'm assuming you just mean putting together written utterances.

Amazing, thanks.

Cod68, thanks for the comment.

Moon212, Thanks for your comment. Yes, I am aware that we are learning that birds are also much more intelligent than they were previously believed to be. What Alex the Parrot achieved was quite amazign, too.


chris 7 years ago

I hope you will use youtube


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Chris, thanks for commenting. We do in fact have some YouTube videos posted. You can find them through this hub:

http://hubpages.com/education/The-Project-Bow-2007


Ofiuco 7 years ago

I am not convinced that Bow has demonstrated the ability to use language. I AM convinced that Bow has learned how to use letters that stand for sounds to make larger sound sequences, but that's not language. Neither, I'm afraid to say, is the ability to recall and use gender-specific noun endings grammar. Gender is a grammatical feature, sure, but it's not governed by rules like syntax or phonology - in essence, gender must be learned by memorization even by native speakers, because there's no way to predict it. All attempts to establish gender rules in a single language have come up basically empty-handed.

What would really impress me would be if you showed us evidence that Bow is able to create English sentences that are well-formed with only a small margin for error, as we might allow a foreigner who has learned the language. You allude to the existence of such evidence, but don't provide it, and while you appear to provide examples in Hebrew, I don't speak Hebrew and I would want a morpheme-by-morpheme gloss in order to be certain that that's what's really going on.

Even then, I would be impressed because it puts a chimp on the same level as a very well programmed computer. That's nothing to shake a stick at, but it's also, again, NOT language - it's algorithms and training that take advantage of the human need to find patterns in data. Language is incredibly complex, and there's a reason that so far, humans are the only animals proven capable of genuine language. The ability to not only use syntax properly, but carry on a conversation AND innovate is astounding.

Please don't interpret this as an attack. I am truly interested in evaluating any data that claims that a non-human is capable of 'language'. Any animal is capable of communicating, but language is something quite different.


Geno 7 years ago

This is one of the most amazing things I've ever read! Thank you for posting this, I hope you continue to post Bow's progress, I would love to see how he is doing communication-wise from week to week.


bob 7 years ago

Wow, that's really incredible!

Hmmm I'd be interested to see what else he can write about. Would you be able to play a game with him or something and then have him write about it on his own afterwards? Maybe he could just write a paragraph or so about the day's experiences before he goes to sleep every day.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Ofiuco, thanks for your comment. Bow can carry on conversations in both English and Hebrew. What was published here is just a very small sampling of what happened early on when he had just acquired literacy. Literacy made it possible for him to demonstrate grammatical mastery.

The rules of grammar in each language are arbitrary, as the existence of other languages with conflicting rules demonstrate. Gender has to be memorized, but once you know the gender, how to create grammatical agreement can be represented with a rule. It's precisely the arbitrariness of the rules that help us to distinguish a native speaker from one who isn't.

Geno, thanks for your support.

Bob, Bow is not mature enough at the moment to keep a diary. He talks in order to communicate to a flesh and blood person who is right there and paying attention.


Matthew C. Tedder 7 years ago

If this was your experimental design then I can fully understand why it didn't get published. However, this does illustrate some of value. People asking for "proof" of something being true is automatically ignorant as there is no such thing.. Hearing people talk about "scientific proof" always sends vibes of annoyance down my spine. Still, conduct proper experiments and it shouldn't hard to publish. Journal reviewers don't reject manuscripts based on how amazing something sounds or how much it clashes with findings elsewhere (which this doesn't). Remember the famous experiment where chimpanzees were pitted against 6 year old humans in openning a fancy box to get the treat inside? The humans generally followed every step, even the clearly unnecessary ones but the chimpanzees left out the unnecessary steps. What you describe falls inline with this... This shoudl be one of your citations. Conduct and publish.


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 7 years ago from DC Metro Area

Wow, you're getting killer traffic from reddit. Awesome! Just friended you there...


Noone 7 years ago

Have you ever asked Bow bigger questions such as "what do you think about life?" - to see if Bow can abstract like that?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Matthew C. Tedder, I didn't originally intend for Bow to use our hands as pointing devices. Of course, I understand what the problem is with that. I am perfectly aware of the Clever Hand phenomenon and its implications here. What was part of the design was for language to emerge naturally, without training. This is part of the problem with proof, though, because Bow requires language in context. The scientific community requires objective, replicable proof. Bow doesn't do multiple choice tests. He doesn't work for a reward. He won't complete an assigned task. He talks in order to communicate. But we're working on ways to allow him to use language in context and still have his choices of letters objectively verified without cuing.

Wedding Consultant, thanks! How'd you find out it was all coming from reddit? It took me a while to realize that.

Noone, Bow does express his views about life. However, he doesn't answer questions like quite that. He just talks about what's going on, and his view emerges very clearly. I will post more conversation in the future, as time allows. In the meantime, did you see the end of the 2007 DVD?

 


Jon B 7 years ago

First, let me say that I'm not attempting to disparage or diminish what has been accomplished here.

However, I would like to point out that "grammar"and "human language" is more than just morphology (combining meaningful elements smaller than complete words, e.g. noun root + plural marker), and Bow's impressive mastery of morphology is not the same as mastery of grammar or "human language" as a whole. It -is- much closer to human language from a non-human than I've ever seen before.

For example, I don't see any examples of syntax (meaning or case marking via position, e.g. "the cat chases the mouse" vs "the mouse chases the cat": same words, but different order gives different meaning) being expressed directly by Bow. He uses the questions asked of him to build the sentences he wants, rather than building the phrases himself.

I would guess he understands syntax well enough, to judge from his ability to answer the questions meaningfully and correctly, but doesn't express it directly. From my (hastily acquired via wikipedia) knowledge of Hebrew, it uses prepositional words to indicate the case of the following nouns; is Bow using any of those, and if so, could you mark them on the transcript?

It would be fascinating, in future research of this sort, to see what variations in performance are achieved in different languages that vary in morphological vs syntactic case marking; English is highly syntactic, with only our pronouns retaining alternate forms for different cases, while Latin is the opposite, giving different word-forms for different cases, and largely ignoring the relative positions of the words.

Anyways, keep up the good work! Even if it may not be "scientifically rigorous, double blind, with a cherry on top, etc.", it's still an enormous boost to our knowledge about the chimp's cognitive capabilities and our understanding of human language. ^_^

PS: To anyone reading about Bow, I would also recommend listening to Terry Gross's interview regarding Alex the Parrot; it can be found at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?story...


David 7 years ago

It's intriguing, but my warning alarm goes off when I see someone lamenting lack of scientific recognition while simultaneously refusing to perform the tests which would gain that credibility. It smacks of someone so invested in a process that they do not want it invalidated and therefore avoid the experimentation that would validate it!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jon B, thanks for your comment. As an example of both meaning and syntax and everything else, I suggest you look at the exchanges toward the end of the 2007 Project Bow DVD,

David, point well taken. Maybe there was a little too much "lamenting" toward the end of the hub. However, what the scientific community is asking for is objective proof of spontaneity without anecdotal evidence. That's impossible by definition. What can be replicated -- over and over again with the same results -- is rote training.


chris 7 years ago

you should get him one of those text-to-voice box things!

maybe he would like to hear his own voice.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Chris, yes, I want to get him that. It's just that we need a chimp-proof version of it.


Hoopz 7 years ago

If you're aware of the Clever Hans problem, then it seems short-sighted to not do everything possible to first address this rather obvious point of contention. Surely you can come up with a couple tests to minimize its effect. Bold claims require very solid proof.

The fact that the ape refuses to 'perform' in pure experiments could be proof that this is exactly what is going on. The fact that the ape seems to be effortlessly bilingual without explicit instruction further points to it, because this is something that would be hard even for a human. I'm not saying that's what it is, but that the skepticism you're seeing from the scientific community seems completely reasonable.

E.g. if the ape requires a researcher's hand to be held as a pointing device, then there's a huge amount of contention here. You could blindfold the researcher and have a third person, out of the ape's field of view, read out the resulting words once a phrase is complete.


Robert 7 years ago

Saying your ape is capable of language is a gross overexaggeration. As previously stated, gender is pretty much a lexical feature of words. Even the most complex phonology operates at the computational level of finite-state.

Posting a video of Bow creating a well-formed sentence which is of context-free complexity, let a lone mildly context-sensitive, would remove all doubt. I'm pretty sure you can't provide that.

I understand why you'd feel the way you do, but don't let your emotional attachment to what's basically a part of your family get in the way of real scientific rigor. It's exactly what Jenny McCarthy does when she makes her outrageous vaccination claims about autism which have now reintroduced polio to the American population.


george 7 years ago

Aya, are you familiar with the Turing test in computing? Basically it was Alan Turing's way to test an AI program. A person would interact with an AI program via a keyboard or spoken language or whatever, but the person wouldn't be told they we interacting with a computer program. The program would pass the test if the person couldn't tell it was a program they were talkng to. All this stuff about rote training and so forth is immaterial to me. If Bow is behind a wall, conversing and peope on the other side of the wall can't tell they are talking to a chimp, it would seem to me that you have proved your points.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Hoopz, I can definitely see how each of your points seems to validate the Clever Hans explanation. But Bow does tell us things we didn't know before, such as concerning the mouse infestation, and he does very rarely also spell out words without holding someone's hand -- see toward the end of the 2007 DVD.  We are still working on devising a way to find evidence that will satisfy everyone, but for those who are here and interacting with him on a daily basis, we've already been presented with evidence that is hard to overlook.

Robert, I'm not sure what you mean by "context free complexity" as applied to a sentence in human language. Human language is tremendously context dependent. What is wrong with the answer: "Because I wanted water" to the question "Why are you angry with me?" That is one of our examples, in Hebrew.

George, I am indeed familiar with the Turing test. That is the ultimate goal! However, we need to get Bow to use a keyboard to make it work! The internet is a wonderful testing ground for the Turing test, both in terms of non-human and AI constructs. Thanks for your comment!


Erik 7 years ago

great work so far. Why are you having such hard acceptance into the scientific community/journals? Normally when that occurs its just bogus science....not saying that's what is happening here. But, if someone as you say had the priviledge to teach on a university they would probably have enough resources, if there findings were true, to get it published.


Robert 7 years ago

Please look up the Chomsky hierarchy. Your example has to do with finding referents in semantics, and not the computational complexity syntax in natural language.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Erik, I am not currently affiliated with a university. I don't think that someone who is affiliated with a university in the United States could have done what I did. There is a lot of pressure on researchers to keep from providing chimps with the enrichment that is to be found in a home environment. Every researcher that I know of trying to do similar work has had their funding, their autonomy and eventually their ape subjects taken away. Sally Boysen is just one example, but I know of others that I'm not at liberty to discuss.

Robert, I concede that choosing 1st person as the conjugation is to do with referents in semantics and that using a past tense is to with reference in semantics. However, grammatical agreement between noun and adjective as to gender, when the gender is not iconic, is purely grammatical. Somebody else who commented on this hub made a big point of that to suggest that Bow wasn't demonstrating conversational ability. You're saying he hasn't shown grammar, because the example I cited has to do with semantic reference, and hence conversational ability in context.  So what about yellow (f.pl) bananas(f.pl.) -- isn't that pretty context independent, considering that bananas aren't semantically feminine?

 


self 7 years ago

Thanks for (1) valuable research, (2) a good home for Bow, and (3) great responses to comments.

A couple points -

The question isn't, "Can Bow use language?" Bow communicates with language, using words, phrases, letters, and numbers.

People are really asking other things. What does he say? Do you need to ask him questions? Does he ask you questions? Does he use complete sentences? Does he use several sentences together?

Answering those with solid experiments will be hard. Animals are easily frustrated. Many animals only work on their own terms. The experiment must be designed around the animal.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Self, thanks for your comment. I can answer all the questions you pose, and I can even provide film footage to back up my answers, and for ordinary readers that may be enough. The problem is that all of that is considered "anecdotal evidence". Solid experimental evidence that doesn't destroy the environment that fosters spontaneous communication is hard to come by. However, I'm still working on it!


Daniel 7 years ago

Great work and great story man !

Keep it up, don't worry about not receiving attention from the scientific establishment - at this point you might be well aware of how "orthodox" things work (be it religion or science). Just keep sharing !


Daniel 7 years ago

Great work and great story man !

Keep it up, don't worry about not receiving attention from the scientific establishment - at this point you might be well aware of how "orthodox" things work (be it religion or science). Just keep sharing !

If you can ask him any questions, I think it would be interesting to ask him some questions that would help us understand how they see the world, like, philosophical questions about "the meaning of life", stuff like that. It would be interesting to see if his ideas about those subjects would be borrowed from his environment or if he would have his own ideas about them !

[]'s

D


Robbo 7 years ago

"Baby in my cup." - Washoe


VIDEOPLZ 7 years ago

Video or it DIDNT HAPPEN....


Andy S 7 years ago

I'm so sorry to say this, as when I saw this article I really wanted to 'believe'; but I have seen nothing here that could not be explained by chance, conditioning or experimenter guidance.

If you really want to prove this - then *prove it*.

I've looked at the videos and, by holding the chimp's hand you are effectivly using him as a ouija board. Maybe you believe in them too?

When he can sit in a room alone and type me an email explaining what he did yesterday, then I'll be impressed.

You're obviously far too emotionally attached to this animal to be objective. I have a cat and I often credit it with human characteristics that it doesn't really posess. It's only natural.

With a creature like a chimp your objectivity will be challenged 10000x more than with such a simple animal as a cat!

Please don't fool yourself. In the long run it could be damaging to you and the animal.

As yourself, if he typed a series of characters such as "iergerglovejdap[jeujf[you", would you pick out "I love you"?

I suspect you might...


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Daniel, thanks for the supportive comment. Bow expresses his views, but not "interview form". I will post more conversations with him as time allows.

Robbo, yes. That's an example.

VideoPLZ, explore my site. There is video here:

http://hubpages.com/education/The-Project-Bow-2007

Andy S, I totally understand where you are coming from. This is anecdotal, in the sense that you have to believe my testimony and Eden's, as well as those of other people whose hands he's used. By looking at the video, you can't tell who is manipulating whose hand. Only if you are the person whose hand he uses do you know for sure. So it looks bad to onlookers. That, however, does not mean what we are telling you is untrue. We are looking into ways of letting him express himself using a keyboard.

However, we have to respond to what he says in real time. Otherwise, it's an impasse.


tutor1235 7 years ago

All I can say is WOW. I continue to have the feeling that many of our animal friends are a whole lot smarter than most give credit for. Did you hear about the elephant in Korea who was making English words out loud? I was blown away.


John Farrell 7 years ago

This is first time I've been to your site, and I have to say that this is one of the most incredible accounts I've come across in some time.

The implications of what you've discovered are so profound, and so far reaching, that I anticipate you will encounter much resistance and doubt that what you''ve reported here is accurate.

Establishing that chimpanzees are sentient animals operating at what seems very near the human level of intelligence immediately calls into question whether we have any right to keep these animals in cages, for our amusement in zoos, or for experimentation in laboratories.

It also kicks the legs out from under the belief system of the fundamentalist Christian here in the U.S., who argue that theory of evolution is heretical lie and that mankind was created in the literal terms set forth in the Biblical account in the book of Genesis.

That may have as much or more social impact than the scientific implications of your research.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Tutor1235, thanks for your comment. No, I have not heard of the elephant in Korea. Could you provide a link?

John Farrell, thanks for your enthusiastic response. For the time being, I will focus on the narrow scientific implications and establishing proof.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Aya- That is amazing. Are you sure that the scientific journals don't accept such research findings or do they want more than one Chimp (like Bow) to validate these results. You have really done a lot of work and I commend you for that. Thumbs up for a great hub.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Countrywomen, thanks for your comment. The problem is one of objective proof. I am still working on finding an arrangement for communication that will satisfy both the standards of the scientific community and Bow's communicative needs.


Jawad UK 7 years ago

awesome work. Keep it up. And do find a way to resolve the issue.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jawad UK, thanks for your encouragement!


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Aya- Can you elaborate about what are those standards for scientific community and where bow's present communicative needs are not being met? I am still not clear how such a research can't be acceptable to them. I am a little ignorant hence sought a clarification hope you don't mind.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Countrywomen, thank you for asking the question! I think many people are not completely clear on this point, some of them even in the scientific community who simply don't understand, if what I claim is true, why I have not provided "solid proof."

Here is the answer which I copy from a project proposal I've been working on:

In order to convince the scientific community of the validity of our results, we need the following:

* The ability to mechanically record what Bow selects on the screen without human intervention, observation or interpretation.

* The ability to replicate results and to submit them to statistical analysis.

 

In order to convince Bow to cooperate with the experiment, we need the following:

* immediate responses to Bow's utterances in real time by flesh and blood participants in a conversation within a particular situational context

* computerized voice to read out what Bow has typed at the same rate as a normal human would converse with another.

Bow will not point at letters unless he gets immediate feedback from his interlocutor. Bow does not answer abstract questions out of context in return for a reward. But the scientific community will not recognize any production by Bow that might have been "cued" by human feedback. The touch screen computer will get around both requirements, because it will allow the computer to read out what Bow spells at a rate that a human would not be able to follow optically, but Bow will still get the conversational input that he requires in real time.


tanja 7 years ago

This is really amazing! I admire your work :)


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Tanja, thanks for your comment and your support!


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

This is just a hunch, based on something my ex brought home once, out of a think tank enviornment, in which they were developing hand held computer devices made to withstand harsh environments, and misuse by untrained military personnel and abuse (i.e. dropping, throwing, etc.) in combat situations. In other words it would be chimp proof, and seemed to have what you outlined above as needed. I think you need to find someone in that scientific community that would be intrigued by what you do, enough to get you what you need.

Glad to see your hubs are finally getting the attention they deserve!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jerilee, thanks for the input. I'm considering a number of different devices at the moment and weighing the pros and cons of each. The real bottleneck isn't the machine -- it's the text-to-speech software in real time.


Anonymous 7 years ago

Here is an old article from the Chronicles of Higher Education about the seven signs of bogus science.By my count, 5 appear here.

http://chronicle.com/free/v49/i21/21b02001.htm


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Anonymous, thanks for the information.

I understand completely why this is is being questioned as science, The reality of the situation is composed of two parts:

                            1) learning language is not somehting that is accomplished through the application of scientific methods. It requires contextual cuing, an emotional attachment between the caretaker and the child and a willingness to use the Gricean maxims of cooperative conversation.

                          2) Once language learning happens, proving it to the satisfaction of outsiders is a second, even more difficult hurdle.

If you design the experiment to make part two foolproof, you will never accomplish part one.

This doesn't mean that I'm not still working on part two.

 


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Aya- Thanks for the detailed explanation. I just hope the voice software works satisfactorily. It is truly a remarkable scientific endeavor to understand primates and your life's work is a great inspiration for many while dealing/understanding the cognitive abilities of Chimps. Thanks for educating so many of us.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Countrywomen, thanks!


Wanda 7 years ago

This is wonderful. to say the least. Please continue what you are doing, and share. Scientists have tunnel vision, and this has been proven through out history.....


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Wanda, thanks for your encouragement!


World News Report 7 years ago

Feeling great to read this all. You have done a wonderful job. Keep it up.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

World News Report, thanks for your encouraging words!


Healey 7 years ago

This is amazing stuff Aya. I've been working with animals for close to 20 years and your progress with Bow is groundbreaking, up there with Irene Pepperberg and Louis Herman. Looking forward to reading more about Bow!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Healey, it's always nice to receive this kind of compliment from someone who is obviously well informed! There will be new hubs about Bow in the next couple of months.


loua profile image

loua 7 years ago from Elsewhere, visiting Earth ~ the segregated community planet

Fine work... You are an inspiration... Persist with your persistence you will prevail...

I do not know your position on this but: Primates are our ancestry. I always believed they were the stock of our origin... It will one day be accepted when the realization of cognition is understood to be thought - concepts composed of our desire, emotion and will; and that all life share in this capacity to think.

Wish you the best


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks Author

loua, thanks for your encouraging comment!

We do indeed come from primate stock. Chimpanzees and humans share a common ancestor, although neither descended directly from the other.


ChaiRachelRuth profile image

ChaiRachelRuth 6 years ago

This is so cool! I'm very impressed with Bow's command of Hebrew. I'm currently enrolled in an Ulpan at about the advanced beginning/intermediate level and Bow's ability to use gender agreement is truly impressive. I appreciated the clips of your conversations in Hebrew. I understood most of your conversations without looking at the translations. Your examples are definitely concepts that the non-native speaker has trouble with.

I do feel that the scientific community has one way of looking at things and getting that culture to change will be difficult.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

ChaiRachelRuth, thanks! It sometimes takes a new language learner to appreciate what a native speaker like Bow is able to do! The scientific community has a lot of hangups, not the least of which is a deep misconception about how people really learn language.


tonyhubb profile image

tonyhubb 6 years ago

You have really done a lot of work. Thanks for such a great hub.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Tonyhubb, thanks for your comment!


Google Adwords Expet 6 years ago

It was great to read all this. You have done very good work. Keep posting good things like this.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Google Adwords, thanks for your comment.


adorababy profile image

adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

I am really appreciating your dedication in your writing. Keep up the great work.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Adorababy, thanks for the encouragement!


FB Siphon 6 years ago

You are doing a great work Aya. I am going to check your other hubs now. I am sure I will more cool stuff there.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks,FB Siphon.


Auto Traffic Avalanche 6 years ago

wow very interesting and unique article rather the work you are doing.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks, Auto Traffic Avalanche.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Traffic Siphon wrote:

"By the way, Can I know how you manage the writing part on your site? Do you have writers? I have started a new project Traffic Siphon and looking for bloggers views to manage the writing part of the blog."

I had to deny the post, because it had a very promotional link. However, I did think the question was worthy of an answer.

I don't employ other writers on my hubs. I write my own. I am one of those primatologists who can also write, which is only fitting, since I specialize in primates and literacy.

When I publish my book about Bow, it will not require a ghost writer.


Kind Regards profile image

Kind Regards 5 years ago from Missouri Ozarks - Table Rock Lake

Aya Katz, Wow, I've never seen so many comments. Interesting. All I can say is I have never doubted once. It has all made logical and natural sense to me. It's just a matter of time, resources, technology and maturity for Bow before you'll be more readily accepted by the scientific and academic communities (and based upon what you've been saying, they are not very pro-chimpanzee or pro-animal which is very much a concern; I am curious as to why this is the case.) Kind Regards


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks, Kind Regards, for your supportive comment. This hub generated a real traffic spike in its time, but unfortunately, many of the readers only came to scoff. While others offered congratulations and even assistance, all of that has since died away, and what remains is the day to day life that we lead in the pens. I agree with you, though, that in time and with maturity it will be possible to demonstrate more clearly what Bow can do.

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