小编摘要：20世纪60年代，心理学家Beatrice 和 Robert Gardner打算将这想法付诸实践。他们试图确认黑猩猩是否有语言的心智能力。由于黑猩猩不像人类那样能口头说话，Gardners夫妇试着教会他们手 势语。
We talk to our house pets all the time, but wouldn’t it be great if your cat could answer you in English?
Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so great! We tend to assume that, because they don’t speak human language, other animals are dumb, or emotionless, or might make a good cheeseburger. If we could ask them what they think, we might have to reconsider how we think!
In the 1960′s, psychologists Beatrice and Robert Gardner decided to do just this. They wanted to see if chimpanzees had the mental capacity for language. Since chimps can’t make the verbal sounds that humans can, the Gardners tried teaching chimpanzees sign language. The results surprise almost everyone who hears about these studies.
Not only was sign language possible for chimps, some acquired vocabularies of several hundred words. They understood basic grammatical constructions, such as the difference between “me eat apple” and “apple eat me.” They invented their own words, such as “water bird” for a swan. One especially adept chimp named Lucy was seen leafing through a magazine and signing “cat” when she saw a tiger, “drink” when she saw a wine ad, and “cry hurt food” when she tasted a radish. Another chimp in a similar experiment came up with the sentence “Give orange me give eat orange give me you,” when he wanted an orange.
Sound familiar? If you’ve ever had a two-year old in the house you may recognize that kind of pattern. In fact, chimps were found to have roughly the linguistic abilities of two-year-old humans. It’s not Einstein, but it’s a far cry from being “dumb animals.”
20世纪60年代，心理学家Beatrice 和 Robert Gardner打算将这想法付诸实践。他们试图确认黑猩猩是否有语言的心智能力。由于黑猩猩不像人类那样能口头说话，Gardners夫妇试着教会他们手 势语。研究的结果令几乎所有知道这个研究的人大吃一惊。
黑猩猩不仅能学会手势语，有一部分甚至掌握了几百个单词。它们也能弄清基本的语法结构，比如“我吃苹果”和“苹果吃我”的区别。它们还创造了自己的单词， 例如将天鹅称作“水鸟”。一只叫做Lucy的黑猩猩特别聪明，人们发现它在浏览杂志时，看到老虎会作出“猫”的手势；看到酒类广告时，会作出“喝”的手 势。当它吃到萝卜时，会“说”这是“伤心哭泣的食物”。一个类似的实验中，另一只黑猩猩在想吃橙子时，用手势“说出”这样的句子：“给橙我，给吃，橙给 我，你”。