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Primate Linguistics

Primate Linguistics

Languages In Nature: Grammars and Universals, Analyses and Experiments

Linguae In Natura: Grammaires et Universaux, Analyses et Expériences

In collaboration with Klaus Zuberbühler's and Alban Lemasson's primatology teams, we have been analyzing raw data pertaining to monkey vocalizations, with the goal of offering formal and predictive analyses of their syntax and/or semantics and pragmatics.

Our first paper on this topic is devoted to a detailed semantic and pragmatic analysis of male Campbell's monkey alarm calls; it can be found below.

We are currently working on the following topics:

    - Analysis of the semantics and pragmatics of male Campbell's alarm calls [data from Ouattara et al., Arnold et al., Keenan et al.; see below]

    - Analysis of the syntax and semantics of Putty-nosed and Blue monkey calls [Schlenker, Chemla, Gautier, Ryder, Schel; data from Arnold, Zuberbühler, Murphy, Papworth]

    - Analysis of the syntax and semantics of Black-and-White Colobus monkey calls [Schlenker, Schel, Chemla; data from Schel et al.]

    - Analysis of the syntax and semantics Titi monkey calls [Schlenker, Chemla, Schel; data from Cäsar et al.]

    - Comparative and evolutionary study of Cercopitheci calls [Schlenker, Chemla, Schel, Gautier, Ryder]

        – Booms

        – Pyow-hack sequences in Putty-nosed vs. Blue monkeys

    - Call categorization and comparison [Chemla, Ravaux]

Links and publications


Monkey Semantics: two 'Dialects' of Monkey Alarm Calls' (Henry Sweet lecture, Linguistic Association of Great Britain, August 2013; specialized talk intended for an audience of linguists. A link to the corresponding paper can be found below)


Schlenker, Philippe; Chemla, Emmanuel; Arnold, Kate; Lemasson, Alban; Ouattara, Karim; Keenan, Sumir; Stephan, Claudia; Ryder, Robin; and Zuberbühler, Klaus: 2013, Monkey Semantics: Two 'Dialects' of Campbell's Monkey Alarm Calls. Preliminary draft LingBuzz. Accepted for publication with minor revisions in Linguistics & Philosophy.

 Permanent Members Interests and responsibilities within LINGUAE
 Emmanuel Chemla

Chargé de Recherche, LSCP, CNRS;  Associate member of Institut

Jean-Nicod, CNRS; Starting Grant Project Leader, ERC

 Psycholinguistics, semantics, pragmatics, logic, music cognition, sign language,
primate vocalizations
Director of psycholinguistic research (and Head of the LSCP Language group)
 Carlo Geraci

Chargé de Recherche, Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS

 Sign language (LIS and LSF), syntax, psycholinguistics. Primate gestures Director of sign language research
 Philippe Schlenker

Directeur de Recherche, Institut Jean-Nicod, CNRS; Global Distinguished

Professor, New York University; Advanced Grant Project Leader, ERC

 Semantics, pragmatics, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, sign language
(ASL and LSF), music cognition,
primate calls Director of LINGUAE; Coordinator of DEC-Linguistics

 Research Coordinator Interests within LINGUAE
 Lucie Ravaux

 Ingénieur d'Etudes, Institut Jean-Nicod (FRONTSEM Project, ERC)

 Primate linguistics Research Coordinator

 Postdocs and Students Interests within LINGUAE
 Anne Schel Postdoc (Institut Jean-Nicod; FRONTSEM Project, ERC) Primatology, primate vocalizations

 Visitors Interests within LINGUAE
 Jeremy Kuhn
 Graduate Student, New York University; Visitor, July 2013; Spring 2014
 Semantics, phonology, sign language. Phonetics of the suffix -oo in Campbell's
 Dunja Veselinovic

Graduate Student, New York University; Visitor, Spring-Summer 2014

 Syntax, semantics. Social calls of female Campbell's and Diana monkeys

 Regular Collaborators Interests within LINGUAE
 Jean-Pierre Gautier
 Senior Scientist Emeritus at CNRS
 Primate calls, primate phylogeny
 Robin Ryder
 Assistant Professor, CEPREMADE, U. Paris-Dauphine
 Statistics, evolution of languages, primate linguistics
 Brent Strickland

Postdoc, Perception Group, Institut Jean-Nicod; regular collaborator of


 Core cognition, experimental semantics and pragmatics, primate vs. Human