Kirsty Graham: "Meaning and Context in Great Ape Gestures"

Talk link:

Primate Conversations with Kirsty Graham - 2nd Mar 2021

Talk abstract: In most languages, individual words can be ambiguous between several different meanings, but through syntax and context the intended meaning of a polysemous word usually becomes apparent. “But Kirsty, you study bonobos, what does that have to do with how we understand words?” Well, many great ape gestures also have ambiguous meanings, which poses the problem of how individuals can interpret the signaller’s intended meaning in specific instances. It’s an interesting problem! Do their gestures’ meanings change in sequences? Do their gestures mean different things in different contexts? In this talk, I’ll share as many bonobo photos and videos as possible, while discussing what their gestures mean, how their gestures overlap with other great ape species, and how context affects the meanings of gestures.

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