Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Come on!

By the middle of 1978 I noticed that Alex [parrot] occasionally produced a "nuh" sound in situations where "no" would have been appropriate. "OK, Alex," I said, "why don't we train you to say it right?" Within a very few sessions, Alex replaced "nuh" with "no" in distress situations, such as not wanting to be handled. Very soon he used it to mean No, I don't want to. Here's an example of Alex with a well-developed sense of how to use "no." Kandis Morton, a secondary trainer, was working with Alex in April 1979:

K: Alex, what's this? [Holding a four-corner wood]
A: No!
K: Yes, what is this?
A: Four-corner wood [indistinct].
K: Four, say better.
A: No.
K: Yes!
A: Three … paper.
K: Alex, "four," say "four."
A: No!
K: Come on!
A: No!

NPR (from Jane)


Blogger Scott said...

Classic. "I would prefer not to." (Or maybe "Nevermore"...)

1:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

View My Stats