June 13, 2004

Dog Language

New information that human language may not be beyond the ability of dogs.

The dog, named Rico, can fetch a newly introduced object when asked, even if he has never heard the name of the object before, the researchers say.

I’d like to see more research, but it would be interesting to find that selective breeding that produced the domesticated dog also produced an animal with an increased ability to understand human language.

Psychologist Paul Bloom of Yale University in Connecticut, an expert in how people learn the meaning of words, said not even chimpanzees have demonstrated such “fast-mapping” abilities.

He diplomatically avoids a comparison with certain American presidents…

Posted by James at June 13, 2004 12:30 PM
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Dogs are great with nouns. Verbs are harder (that's why they have to be trained).

Polly can also tell the difference between "we're gonna go for a ride" vs. "we went for a nice ride" (i.e. she jumps up and down at the first statement but just wags her tail vaguely after the second one).

I'm not suggesting that she understands past vs. future based on my words, but I am impressed that she realizes that if she just went for a ride today, then I'm not talking about a new ride when I mention it later.

Posted by: Julie at June 13, 2004 9:42 PM

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