Thursday, 1 November 2012

"Yzur" Leopoldo Lugones


Leopoldo Lugones

Carlos Costa and Georges Dodds, transl.

Big thanks to Tiff Thomas and Jon Shaw for this one.

Amazing short story by Lugones about a haughty white dude who tries to get a chimpanzee to speak. You may cringe at the condescending tone of superiority and shadow of colonial rascism but past all that there are some really interesting little passages about voice. Connects very well with the Burroughs story on the reading list too (one of the main (- adamic - no pun -) inspirations behind my last post on my own blog). There is a nice passage about the difference between vowels and consonants too which understandably interested me. Also, it re-ignighted my interest in phylogenetic language evolution.... Broca's area and all that.... I kinda feel that monkeys can speak, and must have a super simple form of language, rather than an instinctive emotive cry, but do actually learn sounds for things in societies - which self replicate (oh language the virus! -  Bill), they do understand symbolic gestures too, so must have semantic capacity. 

There is a great scene about Yzur's tongue being pulled and lips contorted, made me think of Jared Diamonds QWERTY text  - yup language is painful, but once there I guess we get a kinda psychosemantic/corpo-mechanic version of stockholm syndrome........ 

I wonder - , if Yzur's chimpnapper was so superior and learned surely it would've been easier for him to just learn chimpanzee rather than 't'other way round?

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