Sasquatch Coffee

Do Bigfoot Have A Language?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 22nd, 2009

Here is more from the Yakima Bigfoot Round-Up. Ron Morehead (shown above) passes along this summary from Scott Nelson’s presentation on Sasquatch language.

Scott Nelson at the Yakima gathering. Tugboatwa photo.

R. Scott Nelson
Curriculum Vitae
Retired from the U.S. Navy as a Crypto-Linguist with over 30 years experience in Foreign Language and Linguistics, including the collection, transcription, analysis and reporting of voice communications.

He is a two time graduate of the U.S. Navy Cryptologic Voice Transcription School (Russian and Spanish) and has logged thousands of hours of voice transcription in his target languages as well as in Persian. He is currently teaching Russian, Spanish, Persian, Philosophy and Comparative Religions at Wentworth College in Missouri.

Statement: “We have verified that these creatures use language, by the human definition of it. The months of hard work that we have put into the study of the Berry/Morehead tapes is finally coming to fruition. The analysis is finished, although I am still working on parts of the final write-up such as frequency count tables, morpheme lists, etc.”

“I believe that the study of these tapes will never (and should never) end. With the recognition and acceptance that these creatures do indeed speak and understand a complex language, a greater effort will be made to collect voice recordings and our analysis of the language will improve. Now that we have a precedent and techniques established for this study, this process will certainly become easier.” ~ Scott Nelson, Crypto-Linguist

Another take on this analysis is here.

More details can be found here.

The Bluff Creek expedition of October 2002. Left to right, Joe Beelart, Joe Marks, Rick Ausin, Al Berry, Ron Morehead, Peter Byrne, Blake Eckard, and Todd Neiss.

:-) Thank You.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.

12 Responses to “Do Bigfoot Have A Language?”

  1. Lightfoot responds:

    Interesting. The Sierra Sounds have always intrigued me. They are the only recorded sounds that I find fascinating.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    This is a very novel and fascinating area of study. As a fluent speaker of a learned foreign language myself, the actual detailed linguistic analysis done here is quite interesting to me.

    If sasquatch do indeed exist, the prospect of them having language is not very far fetched at all considering what we know of some apes such as chimpanzees and gorillas. First off, these apes already are able to convey ideas through hand gestures and communicative grunts, and they have been shown to exhibit understanding of basic human language. The similarities go even deeper than some may even be aware of.

    Although they lack the sophisticated throat and vocal cord structure necessary for human-like speech, chimpanzees and apes have been shown to have a rudimentary analog of the area of the brain responsible for human speech capability. These apes possess a part of the brain called Brodmann’s area 44, a component of what is called Broca’s area, essential to human speech and once thought to be unique to us. Not only do these apes possess a very similar speech center in their brains, but the area even shows the same asymmetry present in human beings. This center is lopsided in humans, with more development occurring in the left hemisphere of the brain, and this left side dominance is also found in apes. This curious detail points to an evolutionary pattern for the development of this speech center, and it is thought that the evolution of language could have actually had its roots with an ape-human ancestor.

    The similarities of this speech center of the brain between humans and apes suggests that at least a rudimentary ability to process language and understand it is present in our closest living relatives. This has been born out through research showing the rather sophisticated cognitive response that apes have to our language, both spoken and sign language, as well as the systems of simple verbal and non-verbal communication already present in apes.

    If humans and apes show these structural similarities within our brains relating to language processing regions, then surely we could expect to see such adaptations in an intelligent hominid such as sasquatch. Considering this, it certainly doesn’t seem like it would be terribly bizarre if they could utilize language in some form or other. If sasquatch throats and vocal chords were adapted to make use of their brains’ ability to process language, I don’t see why not. The idea is not totally without any sort of scientific precedent or basis for comparison.

    If sasquatch are as intelligent as is thought, and possess these adaptations, then it seems like it may almost be stranger if they did not have some form of sophisticated verbal communication.

  3. Cryptoraptor responds:

    Quote: ““We have verified that these creatures use language, by the human definition of it.”

    They haven’t even verified their existance.

  4. DWA responds:

    cryptoraptor: Um, exactly. :-D

    But actually, here’s my angle. Does this analysis raise the scientific credibility of research into the animal’s existence?

    If no, whoo brother.

    But if yes…

    Note that mystery_man considers this line of research intriguing. Admittedly he’s a not-totally-mainstream scientist in terms of his openness to the sasquatch. But he’s a scientist. And unlike most, he doesn’t discard his science and sound like an ignorant layman when he’s talking about this topic.

    I wouldn’t want to pooh-pooh, much less kill, anything that gets scientists interested. Because if there is one thing the history of the sasquatch hunt has shown it’s this: if you don’t get mainstream science on board, forget confirmation.

    Never mind that they don’t even know what is making these sounds (and that it might be something with a very sophisticated linguistic set :-D ).

  5. Weezy responds:

    In one of those links provided in the article there was a link to a radio show, a 2 hour show with Scott Nelson as the guest. He talked more than anyone, any of the hosts and answered a ton of questions, it was a really interesting listen .He even read from a transcript of the tapes and imitated their language for a bit, it was definitely interesting.

  6. cryptidsrus responds:

    I guess the Crypto-Linguists are going by the assumption that Sasquatch does exist.
    On THAT level, it is a great and worthy area of study.
    Heck, anything is possible with these creatures/beings. They might even be telepathic. Who knows?. Wonderful new frontier.

  7. Storfot responds:

    I read through the more detailed link (too quick and too lazy though) and found some interesting points.

    “Language as the means by which we communicate our thoughts is inseparable from thinking;
    when we form thoughts we do so in a certain language”
    - A certain language? To be more precise, there are evidence of humans growing up without language and they were fully capable of thinking. The perhaps best known example is Genie who grew up in LA without being exposed to human language (How languages are learned, Lightbown&Spada). She must have been able to think despite the fact that she lacked a language.

    Cultures that lack a phonetic alphabet are assumed by many to have retained a more holistic understanding of their environment.
    What is clear is that Western human thought patterns have become linear,
    and these patterns have a close correlation to the development and expression of our languages”.
    - Fact is that we read just like the Chinese. We don’t look at each individual grapheme in a written word. As long as the first and last grapheme is in the right place we can read it. Example: telephone – toplehene. Aswenr the toplehene!!
    Every human who is “normal” has a highly advanced knowledge of the phonetic system of her language no matter she writes it with alphabetic letters och Chinese characters. For example, a dyslexic person has problem with seperating the phonems in the spoken language (decoding the individual phonemes, phonetic analysis, make phonetic synthesis and focus on the form of a word). Dyslexia is present in all cultures no matter of the written language (phonologic or morphologic). Therefore it is questionable if we think different than for example Chinese people. And what happens when a Chinese learns our alphabet?).
    Does it matter if we write ortographic or ideographic? I don’t think so. It might be different for illiterate people.

    Is Bigfoot an animal, or is he Human? Is he or is he not sentient? Does he think in linear patterns or more holistically”?
    - Does he write in Chinese or English:) (Sorry, couldn’t stop myself)

    Intimidation, as a function of human language, is heard throughout the recordings, specifically on the Berry Tape in what has previously been dubbed
    “samurai chatter” and which I have come to refer to as “Hostility Assertion”.
    These are vocalized by a drawn out stream of morphemes, often repeated, which are articulated at high volume in a highly hostile tone
    (BI-5:32.42 – BI-6:35.60)”
    - I have studied and done some research in the field of second language learning and this is one interesting point when it comes to learning another language.
    Grammar and vocabulary are hard enough to learn but it is still possible. It is even possible to gain a large vocabulary and master a high level of grammatic accuracy (I will not mention pronunciation here but it is the hardest part when learning a foreign language). It is hard enough to learn the grammar and the words but 99% of all learners fail to develop metalinguistic skills for the new language (ex: something that is gramatically correct might not be the phrase the native speakers use to express it). One common problem with L2 learners is that they say things like they would in their native language (tone, melody etc) and that tends to be a problem. Agressive utterances in English might not sound agressive in Swahili. When the English person uses his English tone in Swahili the native Swahili speakers might find him/her rude/agressive/silly etc. My conclusion here is that Scott Nelson has missed fundamental knowledge around L2 learning.

    The fact that so many of the fundamental “theories” around language and the speakers are so simple and not pragmatic leads me to conclude that Scott Nelson is not as skilled as his CV says.

    Further I must say that the fact that nobody saw the creature (samurai chatter) that made the utternaces/noises makes it even more questionable.

    My two cents: feel free to differ:)

  8. Storfot responds:

    I must add that I think that the possibility of a bigfoot language should be approached from a foreign language learing perspective.

    Thank you!

  9. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Thanks for the nod, and yes I am certainly intrigued by this line of research. It definitely raised an eyebrow. Although we cannot be sure if the recordings are even of a real sasquatch, I don’t see the harm in this sort of analysis if the researchers are willing to put in the time and resources. Especially if the findings are written up in a scientifically viable paper, with peer reviewable evidence to illustrate the claims, it seems worthy of looking into. If they can come up with ways to show that the sounds in the recording could not possibly have come from any known source, that would be a bonus. I hadn’t even realized there was enough recorded of these alleged sasquatch vocalizations to come to any conclusions of the sort made here, but it certainly is a novel approach to this mystery.

    It is sort of sad that the distinction has to be made between the sentiments of a “mainstream” scientist versus one curious about what is going on with the sasquatch. A scientist should really just be a scientist, but it seems like it can’t be avoided on a controversial or generally considered far out topic like this. I don’t consider myself to be particularly different from “mainstream,” or somehow aberrant just because I am receptive to ideas that fall outside of established paradigms. Of course I am not convinced that sasquatch exist, I could be considered quite the skeptic even, but I AM interested in discovery and finding the truth about how the world works. Any new approaches or evidence offered along these lines concerning sasquatch are welcome by me, and I promise not to scoff. :) All I can really do is offer insights, but that is I suppose better than those like myself not being here at all.

    I definitely wouldn’t pooh pooh this area of research into sasquatch vocalizations just yet. Who knows, it could open up some exciting avenues of inquiry and might provide something solid for what I suppose you could call more well funded “mainstream” scientists to sink their teeth into. It might not even be interest that keeps some scientists away from stuff like this either. Funding is the kicker, no one wants to throw money into research they think is going to lead nowhere. I could want to go out and study sasquatch or other cryptids full time all I want, but unless I want to be paying out of my own shallow pockets, I have to demonstrate to the scientific community why I am so sure there is something out there to find. It can become a frustrating vicious cycle, but that’s the way it often is even with less “fringe” areas of research. In my opinion, the further analysis of these vocalizations cannot hurt in this regard. Whether it shows there really is an unknown ape, or on the other hand that the sounds were made by something more mundane, it sheds light on the currently unknown either way and that is what science should be all about in my book.

    Storfot- I really liked your rebuttal to the article. I am aware that you are a linguist, so it is good to have the take of another professional in this area to balance out what we see from the other side. This is what it is all about, the way it has to be in an area like this. Peer review, cross examination, this is essential. I appreciate the input from you.

    To no one in particular- Of course the comment I made before was just speculation on the possibilities for IF sasquatch exist. Using the closest relatives to humans, and likely the sasquatch as well (if it exists), some interesting possibilities could be present as I mentioned earlier. I am not a linguist, but rather a biologist, so my inspection of this language phenomena has been from the biological and physiological standpoint instead of the actual process of language acquisition involved. I am fascinated by this whole linguistic angle to the sasquatch mystery and appreciate this information.

  10. DWA responds:


    Of course having to distinguish between mainstream and not is anathema to anyone who truly values science.

    It’s ALL science. Or at least, open to it. The case I’ve made more than any other I’ve made here is that a mainstream scientist, following his mainstream nose the way he should – through any topic on which evidence has bearing – would see that the evidence for the sasquatch is, and should be, of interest to science. Individuals may have their own projects and focuses. But mainstream science, practiced on the sasquatch data, and it’s been done, yields results that should make an open-minded scientist – a phrase which should embody a redundancy – go: hmmmmm.

    The scientists with the bravery and, well, tenure to vouch for the sasquatch are mainstream scientists. They researched the data and they went: HMMMMMMMMM.

    For now, the proponents may be able to ask nothing more.

    But it isn’t much to ask.

    And let me add that if you hadn’t chimed in, my response might have gone much further than cryptoraptor’s. Now, he’s right. But still, Hmmmmm is a better tack to take from there than the one I might have taken. How close-minded of me. :-(

  11. Storfot responds:

    Mystery Man:

    The strength of a social place like Cryptomundo is that the “word is free”. Every member are free to vent opinions, thoughts and contribute with expertise. It sure would be hard for Loren to be an expert in every scientific field:) and by keeping this blog open for comments he contributes to the field of science I call “serious science” (which sometimes is hard to find on forums, blogs etc). It is a good thing to share mental capital!! I have had this very discussion at a forum and I had a hard time to get my critical thoughts regarded as useful by many of the other members. They just wied me of the table (of contents, he he) and said I was a “non-believer” trying to smear the believers.

    Obviously I find it very interesting that some scientist in my field of expertise is taking an interest in bigfoot. However, I can’t just let him be the “god” of linguistic:)

    On pair with you, my biggest problem with this is that nobody saw the creature who made the utterances. That is my starting point here.

    The utterances are as far as I heard fully possible for a human to reproduce. Many critics of my idea argues for the opposite. Well, critics have so far all been native English speakers (and I think mono lingual as well). The main problem here is that the human ear (brain) is trained to hear and understand the phonems of her native language. Eg; I speak with Danish people on a weekly basis and do so in Swedish. They understand us and we understand them. But I just recently read that they have a glottal plosive sound and it surprised me because I had never heard it. And it is still hard to notice it when they speak. This is a good argue for the fact that the people who claims that the “Samurai Chatter” is impossible for humans to produce are wrong.

    I haven’t analysed the recording much and mostly listened to it for pleasure rather than anything else but I can’t help but think that the utterances are possible for a human to produce.

    Hopefully this will lead to further analyses with more ideas and input.

  12. mystery_man responds:


    But mainstream science, practiced on the sasquatch data, and it’s been done, yields results that should make an open-minded scientist – a phrase which should embody a redundancy – go: hmmmmm.

    Amen to that.

    Yeah, I think hmmmmm pretty much covers it for me here as well. I’m glad you let me chime in with my two cents before you went any further on this. :)

    Storfot- It is unfortunate that you have been treated that way at other forums. That sort of thing is not conducive at all to the investigation into what is really going on behind these phenomena and unfortunately critical viewpoints often get that kind of response on some forums and sites. It should not be about “believers” and “non-believers.” “Belief” really shouldn’t have anything to do with it, but rather an honest drive to get to the truth. Crypomundo is terrific in its level-headed approach and generally receptive commenters.

    In agreement with you, I too am obviously not entirely convinced that what we hear on the tapes is not human. Like you said, humans are capable of a wide range of sounds. Anyone hearing a so-called “click language” (such as the Khoisan language families of Southern Africa) for the first time might well deduce that it is impossible for a human to produce, yet that is obviously not the case.

    An important thing worth investigating further here I think is not only whether humans can produce the actual “language” heard, but also whether the sounds are in any way beyond human capabilities in other areas. It would be perhaps useful to determine things such as whether the timbre of the sounds match up within the range for human vocal chords and chest cavity size, as well as the distance of the creatures which could therefore give us an idea of the amount of lung power being expended. For instance a huge creature like a sasquatch is likely going to have a larger chest cavity (which could affect the timbre), lung capacity much greater than that of a human, and quite possibly different vocal chord dynamics as well. Things such as any sounds present at frequencies below or above a human’s hearing threshold would be interesting too. If these issues could be determined and were found to be somehow beyond human capabilities, it would be compelling. This sort of data could help determine whether the sounds were even physically possible for a human being in the first place. Right now, I am not aware that anything of this sort has been conclusively determined.

    I’m not sure if there is enough data or enough on tape to come to a firm conclusion on the source of this “samurai chatter” either way. Nevertheless, it is quite interesting to speculate about and I tend to feel that further analysis could turn up some interesting things.

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