In general, I don’t like to use these few pre-sound-bytes of Web page space to be topical for reasons that I hope are obvious (I’m not here to depress you), but I can’t help but make note of the talking chimps who’ve gabbed their way back to the news. Now, there are plenty of questions here for an autodidactic but still dilettantish (honestly pedestrian) linguist who moonlights as podcastresse– questions such as whether their form of expression can be considered “language,” whether we’re even close to interpreting what they’re communicating, ad putrefaction. But I happen to know a talking chimp, and it’s a good story even if it does take a sharp right turn at wishful-thinking craftiness, but do you want to know the real point, the thing that excites me most and threatens me just a little?
Talking chimps bring us one step closer to reading chimps. And it’s just the tiniest step from chimps that can read to chimps that can podcast bedtime stories.
Today, the great Mavis Gallant, with a deep tip of hat in Hugh’s direction.