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Cartoon clown who appeared in the Out of the Inkwell series by Max Fleischer and his brother Dave from 1917 to 1929. Koko also starred alongside Betty Boop.

Koko is indeed probably the most accomplished signing gorilla. Granted, Koko doesn't officially speak in American Sign Language any more, and I think Koko has created her own dialect. What this really means is, sometimes Koko says things that don't make any sense, and it looks vaguely like sign language. If you have GBH Select, not GBH2, then you can sometimes see Koko specials on, where they have translations of her sign language. This usually consists of a gorilla humping a woman while it shows subtitles like "Koko-shame-bad-food" and other phrases that would make total sense if you only knew Koko's dialect of sign language. However, what makes Koko truly great is the pet cat that she has (<insert monkey and pussy cat related obscene joke here>), and the occasional gigantic poster sized:


As a classroom full of students sign at the overeducated primate. This is what public television is all about.
Japanese pronoun corresponding to "here" in English. It belongs to the "ko-so-a-do" family of demonstrative words, making it easy to remember.

Ani wa koko ni sunde imasu.
My brother lives here.

Immediately related words:

Koko the gorilla does not speak American Sign Language, nor any form of language at all. Francine Patterson, Koko's trainer, is a poor, delusional woman who can't face the fact that she's more or less wasted the past 25+ years of her life on a project which could not have succeeded. Although the media hyped up most sheep-minded Americans into thinking that Koko communicated in a way similar, if not identical, to the way that humans communicate instinctively, several respected experts in the field of linguistics published articles in scientific journals circa 1980 demonstrating that Patterson and Koko's claims were a total sham.

For more information, consult the following articles:

Terrace, Herbert S: "Why Koko Can't Talk: The Ape's Still Fooling Most of the People, Most of the Time" Sciences; 1982, 22, 9, Dec, 8-10.. Columbia U, New York 10027

Petitto, Laura A. and Mark S Seidenberg: "On the Evidence for Linguistic Abilities in Signing Apes." Brain-and-Language; 1979, 8, 2, Sept, 162-183.. U Illinois Champaign 61820

Or alternately, take an introductory course in linguistics at your local college, or read Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct. Then read through the following articles by Patterson, and notice how her definition of language acquisition constrasts completely with the accepted ones.

Patterson, Francine G: "The Gestures of a Gorilla: Language Acquisition in Another Pongid." Brain-and-Language; 1978, 5, 1, Jan, 72-97.. Stanford U, CA 94305

Patterson, Francine and Joanne Tanner, Nancy Mayer: "Pragmatic Analysis of Gorilla Utterances: Early Communicative Development in the Gorilla Koko" Journal-of-Pragmatics; 1988, 12, 1, Feb, 35-54..

Patterson, Francine G.P. and Ronald H Cohn: "Language Acquisition by a Lowland Gorilla: Koko's First Ten Years of Vocabulary Development." Word; 1990, 41, 2, Aug, 97-143..

Finally, just for shits and giggles, read the transcipt of Koko "chatting" over AOL on Earth Day 1998:

I'm doing some of this from the apocrypha folder's memory, so any mistakes will have to be fixed later.

There was the war, when shellac for records was in short supply; there was a self-imposed ban (starting in the summer of 1942) by the American Federation of Musicians on doing commercial recordings, in other words, a strike, over the issue of musician royalties. So there was little or no official recording activity during those years, aside from V-discs made for the Yanqui troopses overseas and such (plus some late-night scab activity); there are radio broadcasts that are now preserved, but they were never meant to be put on the market as records. Frank Sinatra had a hit (as the singer with Tommy Dorsey's big band), with "I'll Never Smile Again", sidestepping the ban by doing the song a capella with a vocal group -- no musicians. Singers aren't musicians :)

The ban was lifted at the end of 1944; some up-and-coming musicians lost out on a possible chance at stardom during the ban years -- the Earl Hines band had included people like Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan (doubling as a pianist as well as a singer), Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. If they'd had a recording contract, they might well have been the hippest big band around.

So now it's 1945, Savoy Records has signed Parker to a contract, and he's in a Manhattan recording studio on November 26th for the first time as a leader, with the intention of recording four tunes -- the A and B-sides to a pair of 78-rpm discs. It's a quintet -- Parker, teenage trumpeter Miles Davis, Bud Powell on piano, Curley Russell on bass, and Max Roach on the drums. But Powell can't make it to the recording date -- he's in Philadelphia with his mother. Argonne Thornton (later to be known as Sadik Hakim) is supposed to be there as Bud's replacement, but he isn't there either; Gillespie, accompanying his friend Parker on this auspicious occasion, will deputise the deputy pianist -- he has the chops to do it, despite only being known as a trumpeter.

It's time to start; no sign of Hakim yet. Diz is at the piano, but young Miles is having trouble with the intro to "Cherokee", a furious trumpet/alto sax duet over the drums. So Diz takes over on trumpet, leaving no pianist, but that's OK. The intro is handled fine, with short solos for the two horn players, then they launch into the tune's actual melody. Someone -- maybe Savoy's Teddy Reig -- brings the recording to a halt after a couple of bars; you can almost hear him leap out of the control room chair and onto the studio floor, whistling the proceedings to a stop. Reig explains that they can't do "Cherokee", because it means Savoy would have to pay composer royalties to an outside entity -- the publisher and composer of the song, which had been a big hit for Charlie Barnet's big band, once upon a time.

So "Cherokee" is done sans melody statement; after the horn-duet intro, you can hear Diz miraculously ease into the piano accompaniment, and Parker just cuts straight to the sax-solo part, several choruses of melodic invention at the same lightspeed tempo as the intro. To the uninitiated or the casual jazz listener, with jazz history having been frozen by the war, the music must have been the equivalent of humanoid beings landing at Area 51. Humanoid, but not quite human enough for comfort.

After a brief drum solo, Diz grabs his trumpet, and the duet intro is played again -- The End. The intro is now a theme, the theme to a tune called "Ko-Ko", as it was originally spelled that day.

Hakim shows up, Miles returns to the trumpet chair, and the quintet finish three more tunes that day -- a pair of blues numbers, "Billie's Bounce" and "Now's the Time", and "Thriving on a Riff", an impromptu, themeless improvisation like "Koko" (IIRC, or was "Warming Up a Riff" the themeless one?). The rest is...

...a gas!!! You dig?

Never mind.

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