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Signing With Babies And Children: Koko, the Signing Gorilla

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Koko, the Signing Gorilla

Sign language can truly cross barriers, bringing communication across cultures, societies, and even species! Using their hands, humans and gorillas have been able to speak to each other, sharing and expressing their own ideas and feelings. Koko, the gorilla, knows a vocabulary of over one thousand signs in American Sign Language (ASL), which is a considerable amount of words!
Koko is constantly learning new signs, as seen when she approximates “butterfly” for the first time. Even though her fingers do not have the fine motor skill needed for the “butterfly” sign, Koko quickly grasps the sign and signs it back to Penny, her caregiver. The amazing thing is that Koko is able to have back-and-forth conversations with Penny using ASL. When Penny shows her the scarf, Koko says that flowers are “fake,” which demonstrates a true ability to grasp abstract concepts. Koko is so smart and it is wonderful that we are able to communicate with her using sign language.
Sign language and Koko are both amazing! Anyone starting to learn how to sign can watch these great videos and learn how to sign with Koko.


Kristen @ Motherese said...

Such a terrific story. Thanks for sharing it. I think Koko and my 15 month old would have a great time signing back and forth! :)

etel @ SignShine® said...

Thank you Kristen! This is very funny! I am not sure who will be more amused.... :)

Caitlin Torres said...

This really shows how beneficial learning to sign can be for communication! Koko isn't able to speak to her caretakers, but she is still able to communicate with them, which shows how many doors signing can open.

Anonymous said...

This was a wonderful story! It is so true that signing can break so many language barriers and bring people together, which is exemplified in this story.