That's the longest string of words that Nim Chimpsky
, a chimpanzee who scientists raised as a human and taught sign language in the 1970s, ever signed. He was the subject of Project Nim
, an experiment conducted by cognitive scientists at Columbia University to investigate whether chimps can learn language.
After years of exposing Nim to all things human, the researchers concluded that although he did learn to express demands - the desire for an orange, for instance - and knew 125 words, he couldn't fully grasp language, at least as they defined it. Language requires not just vocabulary but also syntax, they argued. "Give orange me," for example, means something different than "give me orange." From a very young age, humans understand that; w [ ... ]