Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Campbell's Monkeys Use Affixation to Alter Call Meaning

Abstract : Human language has evolved on a biological substrate with phylogenetic roots deep in the primate lineage. Here, we describe a functional analogy to a common morphological process in human speech, affixation, in the alarm calls of free-ranging adult Campbell's monkeys (Cercopithecus campbelli campbelli). We found that male alarm calls are composed of an acoustically variable stem, which can be followed by an acoustically invariable suffix. Using long-term observations and predator simulation experiments, we show that suffixation in this species functions to broaden the calls' meaning by transforming a highly specific eagle alarm to a general arboreal disturbance call or by transforming a highly specific leopard alarm call to a general alert call. We concluded that, when referring to specific external events, non-human primates can generate meaningful acoustic variation during call production that is functionally equivalent to suffixation in human language
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [40 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Laurent Jonchère Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 4:16:19 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 11:34:52 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, November 26, 2016 - 3:50:06 PM


Publisher files allowed on an open archive



Karim Ouattara, Alban Lemasson, Klaus Zuberbühler. Campbell's Monkeys Use Affixation to Alter Call Meaning. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2009, 4 (11), pp.e7808. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0007808⟩. ⟨hal-01229449⟩



Record views


Files downloads