Dr. Francine Neago carried out a study with the University of California (UCLA) between the years 1980 to 1992. It was the first language programme using special spelling on a computer with an orangutan named ‘Bulan’.

The scientific world is expecting the continuation of this study, as it has brought new light to the debate of teaching language to primates. Theses studies on cognition processes have already induced several methods of teaching human children with learning disabilities in the American educational system.

These contributions have had a positive impact on many different scientific fields such as psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, zoology and ethology.

The process of learning language forms one aspect of the larger research concerning Hominidae (humans) and Pongidae (great apes), both belonging to the Humanoids group.

The continuation of this language programme will bring a new dimension to the discussion of primate language and human learning, in addition to providing invaluable data for research into the learning of language in disabled children.

After spending 40 years of my life studying and caring for orangutans and other animals, I am very aware that the current methods of animal protection are not working as expected. We need to understand and appreciate their intelligence, sensitivity and awareness enough to restrain us from harming them directly by overconsumption or indirectly by the destruction of their natural habitat.

I passionately believe that this language programme will contribute to mankind’s change of attitude. As people become more empathetic towards wildlife and their habitat, we hope to see a reduction in the risk of extinction, without having to rely solely on law enforcement measures.


  1. Teaching an ape understanding of English
  2. Teaching an ape phonetic spelling
  3. Teaching an ape to read and spell, using a specially designed computer


Language Programme

First Stage (for orangutan baby)
23 letters in one or two letter words

I U = you     N = no     LV = love     YS = yes     KS = kiss     KP = cup     DU = do
BI = bye     KT = cat     MI = my

TY = toy     BY = boy     WK = walk     ON = on     KN = can     WT = what
TK = talk     HP = happy     HT = hat

CZ = cheese     FR = for     YR = your     DK = duck     SK = sick


Second Stage
23 letters in three letter words

TKL = tickle     APL = apple     OPN = open     PLA = play     BTL = bottle     MLK = milk

ASK = ask     KLS = close     WNT = want     MMA = mama     MNK = monkey



MI KP = my cup     I LV KT = I love cat     I HP = I am happy     U HG = you hug
I TKL U = I tickle you      I HG U = I hug you

I KS U = I kiss you     I LV U = I love you      U LV TY? = You love toy?
DU U WNT HAT? = Do you want hat?

DU U WNT LV? = Do you want love?      MR LV? = More love?
DU U WNT MLK? = Do you want milk?