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《考研英语阅读理解100篇 基础版》第4章 科学研究类 Unit 48






In 1966 Allen and Beatrice Gardner,two psychologists at the University of Nevada in Reno,had a bright idea.They were interested in the evolution of language and the linguistic capabilities of great apes.Previous attempts to teach chimpanzees to talk had ended in failure and the matter was considered by most people to be closed.But the Gardners realised that speech and language are not the same thing.Many deaf people,for example,are unable to speak but are perfectly able to communicate by gestures that have all the attributes and sophistication of spoken language.Given the very different anatomies of the human and chimpanzee larynx,the Gardners suspected that previous experiments had failed because chimps are physically incapable of speech. 
They therefore decided to try teaching a chimpanzee to sign in the way that deaf people do.And their chosen subject,a female chimp named Washoe after the county in which the university campus is located,proved an adept pupil.Though there is still debate about whether what Washoe learned was really equivalent to human language,there is no doubt that she learned a lot of words.She now has a vocabulary of about 200.All of this,however,raises a second question.If Washoe and her successors can learn a complex and arbitrary vocabulary of gestures from people,do they have such vocabularies naturally? To examine that possibility Amy Pollick and Frans de Waal,of Emory University in Atlanta,Georgia,have looked at gestures and expressions in chimpanzees and their cousins,bonobos. 
Signalling by facial and vocal expression is ubiquitous among primates.Signalling by gesture is confined to the great apes.The researchers’ hypothesis was that the meaning of expressions has been hard-wired by evolution whereas the meaning of gestures is learnt and,at least to some extent,is arbitrary. If that were true,particular sorts of facial and vocal expression would occur only in particular contexts,and that this would be consistent across groups and even species.The same gestures,by contrast,would be used in different contexts. 
The researchers found exactly what they expected.Expressions(“silent bared teeth”,“relaxed open mouth”,“pant hoot” and so on)almost always occurred in the same contexts in different groups and different species.Gestures (“hard touch”,“reach outside”,“slap ground” etc)did not.Half of the gestures Dr Pollick and Dr de Waal regularly observed seemed to have completely different meanings in the two species.Moreover,even within a single group,the meaning of a gesture could vary with context,almost as tone of voice can vary the meaning of a human's spoken word. 
It is also worth remembering that gesture is still a crucial part of human language,even for those with normal hearing.The old joke that the way to render an Italian speechless is to tie his hands together has a kernel of truth in it.Evolution does not come up with complicated structures in a single leap.They are built up step by step.This study suggests that the step of speech may have been built on mental attributes that were acquired millions of years ago when the ancestors of apes and men began to wave meaningfully at each other. 
注(2):本文习题命题模仿对象为2002年真题Text 4。 
1.From the first paragraph,we learn that _______. 
A) chimpanzees do not have the capability of mastering a language 
B) the Gardners found a new idea to develop the chimpanzee experiment 
C) previous experiments failed because they merely focused on chimpanzees’ vocal ability 
D) chimpanzees can use gestures as well as blind people 
2.Which of the following statements is TRUE according to the text? 
A) Washoe was able to develop an entire system of signs and gestures of her own. 
B) The vocabulary Washoe learnt is not similar to human language. 
C) The Washoe experiment has enlightened further research. 
D) The Gardners found that Washoe naturally has her vocabulary of gestures. 
3.According to the author,gestures are different from facial and vocal expressions in that _______. 
A) gestures are more complicated 
B) gestures are limited to a certain type of species 
C) facial and vocal expressions are more complicated 
D) there is no difference between them 
4.Which of the following best defines the word“hard-wired” (Line 3,Paragraph 3)? 
A) Fixed. 
B) Changed. 
C) Taught. 
D) Made. 
5.The Pollick and de Waal research probably indicates that _______. 
A) the apes are the closest species to human being 
B) people with normal hearing do not really need to resort to gestures 
C) the great apes naturally have the ability to use gestures 
D) human language may have developed from signs and gestures 


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