Monkeys excel at grammar

Wed 08 July 2009
By Ross

Studies on monkeys have shown their grasp of grammar to outshine that of the average 14-16 year old.

The journal Monkey Tales has today published research in which cotton-top tamarins were able to spot incorrect syntax and word usage far better than the average GCSE student.

They familiarised the monkeys with introductary reading to the works of Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens and Jeffrey Archer as well as conversational classes, then recorded their reaction to Internet forums, Facebook profiles and a sample of several Twitter accounts.

In the experiment, they were shown so-called “status updates” as well as comment posts across several websites. The aim was to investigate the ability to spot flagrant misuse of words as well as incorrect spellings.

The monkeys were trained to indicate what they deemed an abuse of the English language in mild cases with a gesture of placing their palm over their faces; larger mistakes were indicated with head-desk interaction.

The same experiment was repeated with a sample of British GCSE students.

The results indicated that monkeys were 20% more likely to recognise cases of “of” being misused as a verb, 15% more likely to spot the incorrect use of homophones such as “there” and “their” and a staggering 89% more likely to know when an apostrophe should and should not be used.

Simple temporal ordering is shared with non-human animals,” the lead researcher tells WAFTI News while drying his hair. “This means we’d expect basic levels of language skill to be achievable even for monkeys.”

However, it seems such simple aspects escape the generation now entering the workplace. It’s a prospect that is certainly cause for concern. If their language skills are in fact lower than those of other primates, then we could see them losing out on jobs to them.”

The government has yet to comment on pressure to help protect British, human workers from losing out to more competent immigrants from the same biological order.

We need the government to put a stop to these monkey’s coming into our country and taking our jobs just because they are willing to work for peanut’s,” rants a red-faced member of the British Numpty Party on a group called “BRITTISH JOB’S NOW!!!” on social networking site Facebook. “Saying their more qualified or more smarter is just PC gone mad.”

The European Union is assembling a panel to investigate the research and its significance in light of recent calls to expand the EU borders into the animal kingdom.