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be the first to say), quite a simple matter. But it is notorious, and admitted on all hands, that animals become impressed so as to identify particulars with particulars—as to form what I have elsewhere * termed “sensuous universals.” A sheep does not dread this particular wolf, but any other wolf also. Therefore it must have a corresponding plexus of feelings; and as the parrot easily can form an association between a plexus of visual feelings and a sound, so it may easily form an association between a similar sound and a plexus of visual feelings closely resembling the former one. There is no more difficulty in one case than in the other, and no more need of attributing to it any superior cognitive power or intention of extending the meaning of the sound first used. In the first there was no real or intentional meaning, though there was a spontaneous activity excited by certain sense-impressions, and the same cause suffices to account for the second case just as well as the first. There is, of course, a certain spontaneity and a certain “meaning” in the sounds, but the meaning is not an intended one. A weather-cock veering east intends to make known the meaning which is, of course, present in its automatic indication “materially,” though not "formally.” As to the parrot discontinuing to employ its vocal gesture for the terrier after it had began to apply the same gesture to other dogs, it is a singular fact, which we are inclined to be sceptical about. We doubt whether Mr. Romanes can be sure that the parrot did so entirely drop the use of this sign. But whether it did or not does not matter in the slightest degree for the argument. The dropping of it could be no indication of intellect. The recognition by a really intellectual nature, of other dogs as being “dogs," would not make the first known dog a bit less a dog, or cause it to be considered less a dog. That the parrot could practically distinguish between the familiar terrier and strange dogs no person can doubt. Every dog who lives with a cat in the house knows his friend “Tom” from all other cats, and generally shows a disposition to treat the latter very differently from the way in which “Tom” is treated by him. In this anecdote, if we accept without question all the facts stated, there is not a scintilla of evidence of the possession by the parrot of an intellectual nature ; there is nothing but what may be entirely accounted for by that power of association and consentient apprehension which we all allow that animals possess.
* See “On Truth,” pp. 191, 206. They have only been so termed by a remote analogy with true “universals," for there is nothing which can be truly called universal in such senseaffections. “Sense” is really ignorant, though the practical outcome of its affections may resemble perceptions in the material, external effects which follow. See above, p. 44, note t.
Mr. Romanes distinguishes * "four divisions of the faculty of articulate sign-making-namely, meaningless imitation, instinctive imitation, understanding words as irrespective of tones, and intentional use of words as signs.” We do not quite understand how “understanding words” can be a division of “sign-making,” and we object to his remark that the understanding of words “implies, per se, a higher development of the signmaking faculty than does the understanding of tones and gestures.” Such an understanding of words as is shown by a parrot, dog, or chimpanzee, is, as Mr. Romanes himself allows, but the understanding of a “vocal gesture," and it is acuteness of the senses, and not intellect, which enables animals to apprehend such gestures. Mr. Romanes himself has said * (as we have seen) that “the verbal petition, 'Scratch poor Poll,' does not in itself [i.e.“per se”] display any further psychological development than depressing the head against the bars of the cage.”
* p. 137.
Speaking of what he calls “the intentional use of words as signs," he says,t “Talking birds show themselves capable of correctly using proper names, noun-substantives, adjectives, verbs, and appropriate phrases, although they do so by association alone, or without appreciation of grammatical structure.” Grammatical structure ! Why, the immense majority of mankind speak with true intellect and perfect logic, “without appreciation " of grammatical structure! That birds use such words of different kinds “correctly,” is a mere accident resulting from circumstance of association, as Mr. Romanes would himself assert. Nevertheless, by this use of the adverb “correctly," a flavour of intellectuality is insinuated, and this requires to be noted. The faculty of vocal articulation, he further tells us, “is exhibited by talking birds in so considerable a degree, that the animals even invent names.” But to "invent” is something much higher than spontaneously to associate sounds with sights, and Mr. Romanes has declared that “association” * p. 131.
does account for these performances. Whether he admits this or not is, however, quite indifferent to us, as we ground our whole argument, not on authority, but on evidence. To say “half-past two” at the sight of a coachman on whose appearance those words have constantly been heard, is not “to apply words to designate an object,” but to emit sounds with which the sight of that object has become accidentally associated.
Mr. Romanes next makes an altogether unwarrantable assertion which shows great confusion of thought; he tells us that such inventions on the part of parrots “often clearly have an onomatopoetic origin.” Now, onomatopeia is a term used to denote the voluntary employment of an imitation of sounds heard, to denote the conception of the object which makes the sound —as when a child calls a duck "quack-quack," or when the word “hiss," or something like it, has been employed to express the idea of a hissing snake. Now, when a parrot, which has often seen and heard corks drawn, makes the sound of the drawing of a cork at the sight of a bottle, such is no true case of onomatopeia, as there is no evidence of intention on the part of the bird to use the sound as a name.
Mr. Romanes ends the chapter by detailing evidence to show the extent to which, under favourable circumstances, young children will invent arbitrary signs, mostly of an articulate kind. Had we space we would gladly cite these, as they are much to our purpose. We maintain that man possesses, and always has possessed, an instinct of language, whereby to express, and wherein to incarnate, his spontaneously arising concepts. We
quite accept what Mr. Romanes says,* that such speech may attain an astonishing degree of fulness and efficiency, and that though such words have sometimes an onomatopoetic origin, they, as a rule, have not such ; that they are far from being always monosyllabic; that they are sufficiently numerous and varied to constitute a not inefficient language without inflections, and that its syntax has an affinity to that of gesture-language.
The eighth chapter is devoted to a consideration of the relation borne by tone and gesture to words. We have but little to object to its contents. No reasonable person could, or would wish to dispute the great superiority of speech over gesture-language, as a medium for the communication of thought. Obviously thought can thus be much more easily and rapidly expressed; it can be used in the dark, and while the hands are otherwise occupied. Nevertheless, Mr. Romanes very properly observes f that he is speaking of gesture-language as we actually find it. What the latent capabilities of such language may be is another question. He adds later on, “I doubt not it would be possible to construct a wholly conventional system of gestures which should answer to, or correspond with, all the abstract words and inflections of a spoken language. ... This, however, is a widely different thing from supposing that such a perfect system of gesture-signs could have grown by a process of natural development; and, looking to the essentially ideographic character of such signs, I
* p. 144.
† p. 147. I p. 148. See also above, p. 141 ; and see, below, the case of Martha Obrecht.