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Press release: A new experiment shows that a language-competent bonobo does not infer immanent links between speech sounds and abstract shapes

News vom 18.03.2022

A collaborative study from researchers in Europe (Freie Universität Berlin, University of St Andrews, Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology) and the United States (Pennsylvania State University, Ape Initiative) has shown that “a language competent nonhuman primate does not intuitively map a ‘round’ sounding nonword to a curved shape and a ‘sharp’ sounding nonword to a spiky shape – a phenomenon known as sound symbolism in humans”. The results of this work are an important contribution to the field of language emergence in humans, as it suggests that an ability much relevant in shaping “protowords” is plausibly human-specific. Read more.

German version

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