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An infrastructural approach also specifies potential paths of evolution for vocal communicative systems. Infrastructural properties and principles of potential communicative systems prove to be organized according to a natural logic--some properties and principles naturally presuppose others. Consequently some paths of evolution are likely while others can be ruled out. An infrastructural analysis also provides a stable basis for comparisons across species, comparisons that show how human vocal capabilities outstrip those of their primate relatives even during the first months of human infancy.

The Emergence of the Speech Capacity will challenge psychologists, linguists, speech pathologists, and primatologists alike to rethink the ways they categorize and describe communication.

The Emergence of the Speech Capacity - D. Kimbrough Oller - Google Книги

The book will be of interest not only to linguists but also to anthropologists, primatologists, and psychologists. If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click 'Authenticate'. View freely available titles: Book titles OR Journal titles.

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Review: Oller: The Emergence of the speech capacity

Chapter 6 discusses vocal and gestural development within the general context of motor development, highlighting the role of motor practice in vocal development. The concept of canalisation is analysed, concerning developmental events that are difficult to "deflect from a biologically preordained course" p. Vocal and signed babbling constitute examples of canalised behaviour in hearing and deaf infants, respectively, as does for example, hand banging and motor engagement in other rhythmical patterns in all infants. The role of auditory experience appears as non-negligible for the emergence of vocal babbling, as differences in its timing onset are discernible between hearing and deaf infants.

Chapter 7 investigates key stages in vocal development, in particular the babbling stage, in the light of several studies targeting infants in conditions of socio-economic deprivation, premature birth or bilingualism, or a combination of these.

LINGUIST List 11.1317

Results confirm the robustness of these stages, suggesting that the logical growth of the infraphonological capabilities is immutably embedded in our biological makeup. In the light of this evidence, Chapter 8 examines the limits on the disruption of the canalised pattern of babbling, from case studies on profound deafness and mental retardation.

These studies show that protophone development may be delayed or otherwise disrupted, but not prevented, and that disruption in the timing onset of canonical babbling occurs in infants who later show deviant development of language-related abilities. This clear correlation encourages the generalisation of diagnostic procedures whereby month old infants may be screened for hearing impairment, or other impairment, on the basis of an evaluation of canonical babbling onset. Chapter 9 turns to the social function of infant vocal communication, ranging from vegetative sounds to protophones. It describes the ways in which infants seek mastery of the powerful human vocal tool through exploration of its flexibility along several dimensions that infants isolate for the purpose of practice.

For example, the alternations of whispers and yells explore the parameter of intensity. Body posture and facial expressions, of the child as well as of interfacing adults, gradually acquire social significance too.

Chapter 10 sets out to investigate the specificity of protophones, as opposed to fixed signals, like crying and laughter, and vegetative vocalisations, drawing comparisons between humans and other mammals. Vegetative sounds, resulting from bodily functions associated with respiration, swallowing an digestion, may nevertheless have social significance in many species: Fixed signals, with origins in bodily responses unrelated to communication, may have been moulded to the purposes of communication through natural selection.

Their form is quite stable: Vegetative sounds are relatively identifiable across species, whereas fixed vocal signals are more species-specific. Protophones, in contrast, have no biologically specified values as signals, nor are they associated with specific emotional states. Protophone play needs no intention to communicate either. These sounds do not have to be produced, nor do they have to be produced within a narrow range of acoustic parameters.

They have the potential to be moulded to situations, thereby showing a primary feature of Conventionality discussed in Chapter 12 , typical of language in its embryonic state.

Wed Jun 14 2000

Often, the first associations between protophones and intention tend to be made up by the child, i. Protophones, in this way, "cut a path on the way to a lexicon" and emerge as the "specific precursors to speech" p. They can be produced independently of any signalling value and have therefore the potential for association with new values. Chapter 11 discusses the interest in the origins of human language throughout the ages, to strike a position of compromise: Oller acknowledges his debt to17th and 18th century thought in laying the foundations for the systematic development of a general theory of properties attempted in this book.

In the same sense that infant speech cannot be assessed through mature language models, it is "in the context of a species-independent theory of infraphonological properties [that] it is possible to make insightful comparisons among different species" p. Chapter 12 specifies the dimensions along which communication systems may vary, in the form of 18 properties that highlight the many routes through which species differentiation may take place.

The properties, simply listed in this review along with the briefest explanation for each, are: Contextual Freedom, the intentional control over vocalisations. Free Expressivity, the ability to express oneself through vocalisations of any sort.

Directivity, the display of vocalisations for the production of social effects. Interactivity, social connection through vocal turn-taking. Imitability, the adaptation to community-determined signals. Designation, the ability to share reference to entities. Conventionality, the assignment of values of any kind to signals.

Arbitrarity, where there is no discernible similarity of signal and meaning.

Semanticity, analytical reference to a class of entities. Displaceability, reference to absent entities. Propositionality, the use of multiword utterances.