Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Boom Boom Syntax

Mr. Verb has a post up about yet another NYT's article on animal language that does a poor job of reporting the facts:

I've been wondering about what syntax really is and how we would show it exists since reading this in the NYT this morning. It reports work by Klaus Zuberbühler and others arguing that Campbell's monkeys (cute critters, see pic) in Ivory Coast not only have some sound-meaning correspondences (boom boom mean 'come here once', krak means 'leopard', etc.), but that they have what they're calling inflectional morphology, a suffix -oo, which sounds like an auditory evidential — indicating you've heard but not seen something.

As Mr. Verb points out, the original scholarly article is not yet available so we are unable to fact check this one...yet.

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