Because I have been convinced

Yes. The nice OSS ladies have persuaded me to believe that OSS will be a good platform to keep my progress/research. And well, considering how scatterbrained I get sometimes, OSS might just be the solution;) Thus, this post is here. It’ll be more of a thought diarrhoea though. So it’s not really a “work” per se. Just random thoughts.

Confession: LMS (NTU) rejected my application and appeal, which was what landed me in ADM. I fretted over not getting into the course, and worried over how I’d fit into ADM. Looking back, I’m very grateful for the initial rejection. Especially because the lecturer of HG1001 Mind and Meaning has very, very generously granted a couple of us entry into the foundation LMS course, meaning then that I can pursue both art/design and linguistics. My current goal is to somehow marry these two diverse and fascinating studies together!

I attempted it last semester for 4DII, but I feel that it was a work that didn’t do sufficient justice to either. You could even call it a rather unromantic arranged marriage. Sighs. I’m very sure that it can be a super meaningful and satisfying one though! (a post/reflection might come up when there’s time, but this semester will be ridiculously busy so it’s not in the foreseeable future…yet) So, imagine my euphoria upon being accepted into HG1001 to study linguistics alongside current/future linguists!

On to what spurred this post. Lecture 2’s topic is on Animal Communication. This caught my eye:

a lexigram, taken from
a lexigram

This is a lexigram. It is one of the medium through which researchers have been teaching primates to communicate with humans. These symbols are on buttons which the apes press to input them. What’s surprising about this artificial language, called Yerkish, is that the buttons have to be pressed in a specific order, much like how humans speak. The reason why this is so fascinating is because such structure in speech is not natural for apes (it might be debatable if this is natural to humans too). In fact, when taught American Sign Language (which had limited success so far), the chimp signing “Bob tickle Ali” and “Ali tickle Bob” could mean that either Bob tickled Ali (Ali being the victim), or Ali tickled Bob (meaning that Bob was victim to Ali’s amusements). So the fact that chronology can be imparted and expressed is quite interesting.

It helps also that the symbols are highly visual and very abstract. It is one thing for the chimp to learn the symbolic vocabulary for objects, but expressing their own emotional state is another matter altogether, because it first requires reflecting on oneself, understanding that emotion, and connecting that intangible, invisible emotion to the appropriate symbol for others to see. Which is actually some pretty big leaps that we often take for granted simply because it comes so naturally.

The above image is taken from Art for Bonobo Hope.

Anyway, I haven’t completely processed most of the information. It’s too late in the night to do that after a full day of school. Nerdy me is looking forward to lecture tomorrow though haha!

Until next time;)


Privacy Policy