Apr 152013

In this week’s 6 Minute English: The bizarre call of the gelada monkey bears a surprising resemblance to human speech. Scientists are researching whether or not it might help us understand how early humans spoke.

Finn and Neil talk about the development of human speech, and make some silly noises.

This week’s question:

What do geladas eat?

a) fish

b) grass

c) ice-cream

Listen out for the answer at the end of the programme.



gargle: the noise made when liquid is moved around at the back of the throat
onomatopoeia: (using) words which sound like their meaning
origins: beginnings
primitive noises: early and simple sounds
evolutionary ancestors: early types of plant or animal before they developed into their modern forms
speech-like properties: qualities that are like speech
vocal anatomy: the physical structure of the inside of the mouth and throat
lip smacking: making sounds with the lips, tongue and teeth without using the voice
vocalisations: sounds made using the voice
small talk: conversation that is not really important, but helps people who do not know each other well pass the time
monkey business: behaviour that is silly, unacceptable or dishonest


6 Minute English – Talking monkeys Transcript Video


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Source: BBC Learning English

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