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 Zuberb├╝hler 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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