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Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving: "Yes, I see [a] party!"

Lawrence was here the day before Thanksgiving, to sit with Bow while my mother and I prepared things for the feast. They could both see the kitchen, from inside the pens, and Bow likes to watch. He was feeling very talkative that day, and Lawrence reports that he even used his touchscreen. At one point, Bow poked  the computer with his chopstick until he got it to say: "Yes, I see party."

"I see party?" I repeated when Lawrence told me.

"Yeah. That's what it sounded like. I didn't actually see what he spelled."

Bow contrives to spell things on the computer when Lawrence is not looking. So, it is entirely possible that the "see" was spelled "C". But the "yes" and the "party" would be hard to achieve any other way than spelling them out. And let's face it "I" and the letter "I" are already a shortcut in normal spelling.

Now, people who claim chimps do not have syntax could make a really big deal of how there was no article in front of the word "party". I assure you, however, that Bow left that out because of difficulty with typing, and not because he doesn't know grammar. For that matter, having articles in front of nouns is not a universal of human language. Lots of language don't have them at all. Hebrew has a definite article and not an indefinite one. One might have supposed it was a question of fluency with English. But those of us who know Bow really well know his English is better than that. Using the touchscreen is hard. I sometimes leave out articles when I type, too.

As for the semantics of what he said, you kind of have to understand the context, too.We so seldom have people over, even just family, that to Bow seeing me and my mother and Sword talking, and laughing and working in the kitchen preparing a Thanksgiving feast seemed like a "party".

Thanksgiving day was just family: Sword, Bow, my mother and me. Bow and Sword each got a turkey leg, so that neither could claim I was favoring the other. The other favorite thing among the younger generation was cranberry sauce. Here are some candid shots I took with my laptop's built in camera:


  1. Looks like Bow is having a nice Thanksgiving. I just read an article in the local paper about how 15% of people do not even own a cell phone, so I would say Bow is very technologically savvy with his touch screen. Those are not easy to use.

  2. Thanks, JewelandtheSun. I agree. Touchscreens are not easy to use, and Bow has the added challenge of having to poke at his through the grid with a chopstick. So I'd say he's doing pretty well, all things considered!

  3. I love that last picture of Bow. He's got the cutest expression on his face.

  4. Victoria, yes, I like his expression in that picture, too! It's the sort of eating & socializing at the same time expression that many of us have when sharing a meal with friends and family.