Tuesday, March 5, 2013

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Understanding a Lecture

Taking notes is always a struggle, and I focus more on helping my students to understand the structure and organization of a lecture. To this end, I prefer to give them a partially-filled outline for them to complete, followed up by a set of questions to answer using their notes. Source: Contemporary Topics 3, Animal Communication

Lecture Practice: Animal Communication

sophisticated – ADVANCED
Who has a more sophisticated brain? Animals or humans?
Animals in the lecture (besides cats and dogs) 

First Listening: Fill in the chart
1.    First Characteristic: Arbitrariness
a.      Definition: No logical ___________________________ between a sound and its ____________________________.
Eg) ______________________________
b.     Most animal communication not arbitrary
Eg) _______________________________
c.      Some animal communication is arbitrary
Eg) ________________________________ -> Make 20 distinct sounds (alarm for snakes, eagles, cats, etc)
Conclusion: Human comm. is more sophisticated à English has more than 40 distinct sounds
2.    Second Characteristic: Displacement
a.      Definition: Communicating ideas about things not _________________________________
Eg) What you did __________________________________
b.     Animals can’t do this!
Eg) Your dog_______________________________
c.      Exception: ______________
-> Dance to communicate _____________________________

Conclusion: Animal language more limited than humans à _______________________, magazines, _________________________ (all displacement)
3.    Third Characteristic: _______________________________________ Transmission
a.      Definition: Language is ________________________________________
b.     Animals are skilled
Eg) _________________________ whale à Live in groups, different __________________________
c.      Humans more developed
Eg) Pass on to children
4.    Fourth Characteristic: __________________________________________
a.      Definition: Definition: Language is made of ________________________________________ combined to _________________________________________
b.     Humans: Use sounds to make _____________________________
c.      Animals
Eg) _________________________________________________________________
                  Make phrases: ___________________________________ for watermelon

Conclusion: Most linguists -> They don’t really understand and use grammar like humans 

Use your notes to answer the questions

1.     What is one of the main ideas of the lecture?
a.      Animal communication has changed from simple to complex.
b.     Animal communication is less sophisticated than human language.
c.      Animals have a large set of vocabulary, but not grammar.
d.     Animals communicate complex ideas, but only with other animals.

2.     Which idea was NOT discussed in the lecture?
a.      Humans language is arbitrary.
b.     Animals don’t have grammar and vocabulary.
c.      Animals use cultural transmission.
d.     Animals use language to bond with humans.

3.     What is the definition of displacement?
a.      the relationship between a sound and its meaning
b.     communicating ideas about things that are in a different place
c.      passing on information to children
d.     using complicated grammar

4.     Which creature can successfully use displacement?
a.      bees
b.     chimpanzees
c.      dogs
d.     meerkats

5.     What sophisticated communication ability do killer whales have?
a.      nonverbal communication
b.     a large vocabulary
c.      cultural transmission
d.     complex grammar
6.     What animal has shown a limited ability to use discreteness?
a.      bees
b.     cats
c.      chimpanzees
d.     killer whales

7.     What are chimpanzees NOT able to do when they communicate?
a.      learn words
b.     use nonverbal communication
c.      communicate the location of food sources
d.     understand and use grammar

8.     Which of the following is probably true of animal communication?
a.      Animals mostly use language to communicate with different types of animals.
b.     Animal language is as sophisticated as human language.
c.      Animal language differs from human language in many ways.
d.     Animals mostly rely on verbal communication.

9.     What would the speaker probably say about animals’ abilities to communicate about past events?
a.      It is not possible.
b.     Only chimpanzees can do it.
c.      Bees and their dances are a good example of this.
d.     Many animals can do it.

10.  What would the speaker probably say about humans’ ability to communicate with animals?
a.      It is not possible.
b.     It is possible, but only to a limited degree (only a little).
c.      Animals must first learn to use grammar.
d.     Animals must first learn to pronounce the human language.