July 24, 2004

The Cows of Language

You thought the talking dogs were amazing? Well, now here's "Bess the Amazing Talking Cow".

Ok, it's a comic strip, the first in a compilation of Ruben Bolling's "Tom the Dancing Bug's Super-Fun-Pak Comix". Moo. Moo. Moo.

Three panels. Characters, left to right: woman, man, cow.

First panel: Man says, "I've taught Bess a vocabulary of 10,000 words." Bess says, "Moo."

Second panel: Woman says, "So why does she only say "Moo"?" Bess says, "Moo."

Third panel: Man says, "That's all that's ever on her mind." Bess says, "Moo."

What I'm remembering here is Laura Petitto and Mark Seidenberg's reports on their work on Herb Terrace's Nim Chimpsky project. Paraphrasing from memory: what do signing chimps have to say to reseachers? "Me banana you banana banana banana banana." Moo.

zwicky at-sign csli period stanford period edu

Posted by Arnold Zwicky at July 24, 2004 02:06 AM