Sunday, July 22, 2012

42. Sharing Common Origins


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A WHIFF OF ETHOLOGY
Important note: this post was uptaded at 10:15 hours on the 26th of July. Now it contains the suggested answers I promised when I posted it. See below after the page-break.

The science of ethology developed in the first half of the 20th century as a combination of laboratory and field science, with a strong relation to certain other disciplines such as neuro-anatomy, ecology, and evolution. Ethologists are typically interested in a behavioural process rather than in a particular animal group, and often study one type of behaviour (e.g. aggression) in a number of unrelated animals.

The desire to understand animals has made ethology a rapidly growing field. Since the turn of the 21st century, many aspects of animal communication, animal emotions, animal culture, learning, and even sexual conduct that experts long thought they understood, have been re-examined, and new conclusions reached. New fields have developed, such as neuroethology.

Understanding ethology, or animal behaviourism, is very important in animal training. Considering the natural behaviours of certain animals or specific breeds of animals enables the trainer to select the breed best suited to perform the required task. It also enables the trainer to encourage the re-performance of certain naturally-occurring behaviours, and also the discontinuance of undesirable behaviours.


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What animals can you see in the pictures?
What are the animals and the people doing?
Where do you think these pictures were taken?
(Success at FCE)
Read through the following list of animals and divide them into two categories: animals which are useful or friendly to humans, and animals which are dangerous or a nuisance to humans.

Spiders
tigers
cats
elephants
mosquitoes
dogs
sheep
whales
horses
wolves
mice
rats

Do you think we should train animals to entertain us, for example, in circuses? Why? Why not?


DOLPHINS AND HUMANS
[adapted from New Success at First Certificate by Robert O'Neill, Michael Duckworth and Kathy Gude]

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One day in 1963, a dolphin named Elvar and a famous astronomer, Carl Sagan, were playing a little game.

The astronomer was visiting an institute which was looking into the way dolphins communicate with each other. He was standing at the edge of one of the tanks where several of these highly intelligent, friendly creatures were kept. Elvar had just swum up alongside him and had turned on his back. He wanted Sagan to scratch his stomach again, as the astronomer had done twice before. But this time Elvar was too deep in the water for Sagan to reach him. Elvar looked up at Sagan, waiting. Then, after a minute or so, the dolphin leapt up through the water into the air and made a sound just like the word 'More!'


The astonished astronomer went to the director of the institute and told him about the incident.
‘Oh, yes. That's one of the words he knows’ the director said, showing no surprise at all.

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Dolphins have bigger brains in proportion to their body size than humans have, and it has been known for a long time that they can make a number of sounds. What is more, these sounds seem to have different functions, such as warning each other of danger. Sound travels much faster and much further in water than it does in air. That is why the parts of the brain that deal with sound are much better developed in dolphins than in humans. But can it be said that dolphins have a 'language', in the real sense of the word? Scientists don't agree on this.

A language is not just a collection of sounds, or even words. A language has a structure, or what we call a grammar. The grammar of a language helps to give it meaning. For example, the two questions 'Who loves Mary?' and 'Who does Mary love?' mean different things. If you stop to think about it, you will see that this difference doesn't come from the words in the question but from the difference in structure. That is why the question 'Can dolphins speak?' can't be answered until we find out if dolphins not only make sounds but also arrange them in ways which affect their meaning.
Choose the best answer.

1.      The dolphin leapt into the air because

A Sagan had turned his back.
B it was part of the game they were playing.
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C he wanted Sagan to scratch him again.
D Sagan wanted him to do this.

2.    When Sagan told the director about what the dolphin had done, the director

A didn't seem to think it was unusual.
B thought Sagan was joking.
C told Sagan about other words the dolphin knew.
D asked him if he knew other words.

3.    Dolphins' brains are particularly well developed to

A help them to travel fast in water.
B arrange sounds in different structures.
C respond to different kinds of sound.
D communicate with humans through sound.

4.    The sounds we call words can be called a language only if

A each sound has a different meaning.
B each sound is different from the other.
C there is a system of writing.
D they have a structure or grammar.


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Complete the following sentences with say, tell, talk or speak.

How many languages can you--?
What is the first word most children learn to--?     
Stop it! Don't--nonsense!
Please--us another joke.
When do children usually learn to--?
Please--me when to get off this bus.
Actions--louder than words.
Sorry, I wasn't listening. What did you--?

LANGUAGE STUDY

How structure changes meaning

A. What is the difference in meaning in the following three pairs of sentences? What is it that causes this change of meaning?

Sound travels through water very fast.
The sound travels through the water very fast.

Who loves Mary?
Who does Mary love?
Stop to think about it!
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Stop thinking about it!

Which sentence could be rephrased as follows?

Stop for a moment and think about it.
Don't think about it.
Mary loves someone. Who?
Someone loves Mary. Who?
Can you rephrase the other two sentences?

Two types of question with who
B. Study each sentence carefully. Then answer the two questions about each sentence.

Tom loves Mary but Mary loves Dick.
a) Who loves Mary? b) Who does Mary love?

Lee Oswald killed Kennedy and Jack Ruby killed Oswald.
a) Who killed Oswald? b) Who did Oswald kill?

C. What questions would you ask in these situations?

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Someone broke the window. You want to know who.
Someone always leaves the door open. Ask who.
Cleopatra loved someone. Ask who.
The teacher works for someone. Find out who.
Only a very few people like doing exercises like these. Find out who.