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Yerkish is an artificial language developed for use by non human primates. Yerkish requires the primates to use a keyboard to punch keys with so called lexigrams, symbols corresponding to objects or ideas. The language was developed by Ernst von Glasersfeld and used by Duane Rumbaugh and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh of Georgia State University while working with primates at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia teaching them to communicate by means of lexigram board, a computerized array of keys labeled with lexigrams. The first ape that from 1973 was trained to communicate in Yerkish was Lana (chimpanzee).

See alsoEdit


  • Rumbaugh, D. M. ed. (1977) Language Learning by a Chimpanzee. The Lana Project. New York, Academic Press
  • von Glasersfeld, E. (1974) The Yerkish language for non-human primates. American Journal of Computational Linguistics, 1974, 1.
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