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    • Join Date: Jul 2007
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    #1

    Human see, Human do

    I've seen a poster which says: Human see, Human do. Is it grammartically correct? Should it be humans see/ humans do?

  1. rewboss's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: Human see, Human do

    It's based on the saying "Monkey see, monkey do", which is, strictly speaking, grammatically incorrect; but it is intended to reflect "baby talk". This is because it is used to describe one theory of how young children learn: they do whatever they see adults doing.

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    #3

    Re: Human see, Human do

    Hi belly_ttt,

    There are a few words in addition to your profound acquaintance of American culture.

    The "Monkey see, monkey do" is traditional cliche that popped in American culture in the early 1920s. The American version of this saying often refers (see rewboss post above) to a child's learning process. The child observes another behavior and then imitates it. This is often referred to in social psychology studies as the "Modeling theory". The basis of this theory is that by observing a model's behavior and imitating it, there will be a desired learned effect. This is related to the concept of "mirror neuron."

    A mirror neutron is a neuron which "fires" (reacts) both when an animal (a human) performs an action and when the animal (the human) observes the same action performed by another (especially con-specific= belonging to the same species) animal (human). Thus, the neutron "mirrors" the behavior of another animal (human) ,as though the observer were itself performing the action. This neutrons have been directly observed in primates, and are believed to exist in humans and in some birds. Some scientists consider mirror neutrons one of the most important findings of the neuroscience in the last decade. (They might be very important in imitation and language acquisition.)

    Regards.

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 30-Dec-2007 at 18:17.


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    #4

    Re: Human see, Human do

    Well, I'm in the US, but I have always understood this expression (at least when used in everyday speech) to be somewhat negative, that is, used to describe negative behavior, or the behavior of those who foolishly copy others, or both.

    "The police arrested the Smith boy for underage drinking last week. Well, monkey see, monkey do; his mother drinks like a fish."

    "I can't believe Jack spent that kind of money on a car. Well, monkey see, monkey do; Bill and Jim bought themselves Boxsters, so of course he had to have one too."

    [not a teacher]

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    #5

    Re: Human see, Human do

    Hi Delmobile,

    I have not seen even one syllable against the written in my post in the present thread that urged me to write again a few words concerning this themes.

    Yours artistic examples as a result of your long lived experience in US - embodiment of the human civilization give moral support to a not inconsiderable degree the correctness of the Charles Darvin's "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" which was written in the remote 1859.
    When you pay attention to my post above you will see the marked parallel between the primates and humans. There is no denying that there are such facts and phenomena as child's learning as result of observation and imitation, Modeling theory, mirror neurons.

    Regarding your ascertainment of learning and imitation of the negative behavior that has nothing to do with me.

    This lies beyond my competence.

    Regards.

    V.


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    #6

    Re: Human see, Human do

    vil, I'm sorry; have I written something to offend you? I was only trying to express my understanding of the way this expression is used, at least in my experience. I can't speak for social psychologists, but it's a common "Mom-ism," at least for my mother. :)

  2. #7

    Re: Human see, Human do

    Del, what you said applies to Canada too. My mother was fond of the expression, when I'd do something silly and my brother would do the same. If it's not used in scolding, it's used humorously, in my experience.

    thanks for your contribution
    edward

    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    vil, I'm sorry; have I written something to offend you? I was only trying to express my understanding of the way this expression is used, at least in my experience. I can't speak for social psychologists, but it's a common "Mom-ism," at least for my mother. :)

  3. #8

    Re: Human see, Human do

    Fascinating. It had never occurred to me that this expression (apparently mainly Canadian and American) could have be born in baby talk.

    I'd assumed it was Chinese syntax.
    At least two expressions--"long time no see" and "no tickee no washee" came from Chinese, and I've wondered if the vulgar bull***t might have come from the Chinese negative "bu shi", which means simply, "It isn't."

    When I read your posting I checked the Internet to see if the origin of "monkey see monkey do" was known. I didn't find a clear answer; all I found was two references to a possible origin in African folklore.

    I'd love to learn more about this, if our usingenglish scholars have more information.

    regards
    edward

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    It's based on the saying "Monkey see, monkey do", which is, strictly speaking, grammatically incorrect; but it is intended to reflect "baby talk". This is because it is used to describe one theory of how young children learn: they do whatever they see adults doing.


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    #9

    Re: Human see, Human do

    I never thought about it, but I think I assumed it was Chinese too, especially with the "see no evil, hear no evil" monkeys to add to the simian mix.

    baqarah, I think "no tickee, no washee" is considered slightly racist these days, and for all I know "long time no see" is too. I will gladly give up both if the PC police will also rid us of "thank you much."

  4. #10

    Re: Human see, Human do

    "No tickee no washee" is highly offensive, and I should have said so when I cited it as an example of Chinese syntax coming into English.

    Thank you for catching this.

    Chinese proverbs are traditionally made up of four characters, which is why I took "monkey see monkey do" as Chinese, and why I doubt that their simian counterparts are Chinese in origin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Delmobile View Post
    I never thought about it, but I think I assumed it was Chinese too, especially with the "see no evil, hear no evil" monkeys to add to the simian mix.

    baqarah, I think "no tickee, no washee" is considered slightly racist these days, and for all I know "long time no see" is too. I will gladly give up both if the PC police will also rid us of "thank you much."

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