Koko And American Sign Language

Decent Essays
Animals do not really understand human language. To animals, it is like performing a specific action for a specific command. In this paper, through a widely popular example, I would like to argue that, although animals have their own language and seem to understand human language, in reality, animals do not really understand human language.

Koko (born July 4, 1971), a female western gorilla, was known for having learned signs from an adjusted version of American Sign Language. Her instructor and caregiver, animal psychologist Francine "Penny" Patterson, reports that Koko can understand more than 1,000 indications of what Patterson calls "Gorilla Sign Language" (GSL) (Fischer). Patterson reports that Koko's utilization of signs and her activities, which are predictable with
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A. Petitto). Koko the gorilla made headlines when she appeared in a video calling on world leaders to take action on climate change. It might appear that Koko has mastered the ability to communicate a complex message using signs. However, the video was a campaign message, so it is possible that she is copying the signs being asked of her, rather than sending us a message of her own. But if this is true, is Koko really showing any such ability? In short no. What Koko can in fact do, is manipulate her vocal chords to create an assortment of sounds. It might likewise be conceivable that Koko’s normal activities like scratching or embedding her thumb in her mouth might be confused with American Sign Language. The comprehension of human dialect by Koko might be relatable to Chinese Room Experiment with Koko being the individual inside the room. For this situation, the
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