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Recent studies of vocal development in infants have shed new light on old questions of how the speech capacity is founded and how it may have evolved in the human species. Vocalizations in the very first months of life appear to provide previously unrecognized clues to the earliest steps in the process by which language came to exist and the processes by which communicative disorders arise. Perhaps the most interesting sounds made by infants are the uniquely human 'protophones' (loosely, 'babbling'), the precursors to speech. Kimbrough Oller argues that these are most profitably interpreted in the context of a new infrastructural model of speech. The model details the manner in which well-formed speech units are constructed, and it reveals how infant vocalizations mature through the first months of life by increasingly adhering to the rules of well-formed speech. He lays out many advantages of an infrastructural approach. Infrastructural interpretation illuminates the significance of vocal stages, and highlights clinically significant deviations, such as the previously unnoticed delays in vocal development that occur in deaf infants. 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. Oller's infraphonological model permits provocative reconceptualizations of the ways infant vocalizations progress systematically toward speech, insightful comparisons between speech and the vocal systems of other species, and fruitful speculations about the origins of language.
This book sets a high standard for rigor and scientific approach to the study of bilingualism and provides new insights regarding the critical issues of theory and practice, including the interdependence of linguistic knowledge in bilinguals, the role of socioeconomic status, the effect of different language usage patterns in the home, and the role of schooling by single-language immersion as opposed to systematic training in both home and target languages. The rich landscape of outcomes reported in the volume will provide a frame for interpretation and understanding of effects of bilingualism for years to come.
Techniques in Speech Acoustics provides an introduction to the acoustic analysis and characteristics of speech sounds. The first part of the book covers aspects of the source-filter decomposition of speech, spectrographic analysis, the acoustic theory of speech production and acoustic phonetic cues. The second part is based on computational techniques for analysing the acoustic speech signal including digital time and frequency analyses, formant synthesis, and the linear predictive coding of speech. There is also an introductory chapter on the classification of acoustic speech signals which is relevant to aspects of automatic speech and talker recognition. The book intended for use as teaching materials on undergraduate and postgraduate speech acoustics and experimental phonetics courses; also aimed at researchers from phonetics, linguistics, computer science, psychology and engineering who wish to gain an understanding of the basis of speech acoustics and its application to fields such as speech synthesis and automatic speech recognition.
In den vergangenen 150 Jahren wurden von der Entdeckung des Penizillins über die Entschlüsselung der menschlichen DNS bis zum Nachweis des Higgs-Bosons kolossale Fortschritte gemacht. Doch an einer der drängendsten Fragen der Menschheitsgeschichte - Wo liegt der Ursprung der menschlichen Sprache? - scheitert die Wissenschaft bis heute. Das hat, wie Tom Wolfe genüsslich darlegt, führende Forscher von Charles Darwin bis Noam Chomsky jedoch zu keiner Zeit davon abgehalten, grandiose Erfolge zu verkünden, die gar keine waren, Konkurrenten zu diffamieren, anstatt eigene Fehler einzugestehen, und generell des Kaisers neue Kleider in den schillerndsten Farben zu beschreiben. In Das Königreich der Sprache vertritt Wolfe die These, wonach die Sprache die erste kulturelle Leistung des Menschen und somit nicht mit der Evolutiontheorie oder wissenschaftlicher Systematik zu erklären ist.
A brief and original prehistory of the world Prehistory covers human existence before written records, i.e. most of human existence. But it also refers to the discipline through which we scrutinize prehistoric times. PREHISTORY begins by looking at the discovery of a remote human past and the subsequent dramatic growth of the study of prehistory: early archaeology; geology; Darwin's ideas of evolution; cave paintings; fossil discoveries of human ancestors; museums and collections; radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis. Renfrew challenges the conventional assumption of an all-important 'human revolution' 40,000 years ago - when Homo Sapiens first appeared in Europe - and suggests that the key developments were much later. The author's case-studies range widely, from Orkney to the Balkans, from the Indus Valley to Peru, from Ireland to China, and provide fresh insights on landmark monuments such as the Egyptian pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, Stonehenge and the sacrificial burial pyramids at Teotihuacan in Mexico. The book closes with a fascinating chapter on the transition from Prehistory to History, on early writing systems.
Origins of Language: A Slim Guide offers a concise and accessible overview of what is known about the evolution of the human capacity for language. Non-human animals communicate in simple ways: they may be able to form simple concepts, to feel some limited empathy for others, to cooperate to some extent, and to engage in mind-reading. Human language, however, is characterized by its ability to efficiently express a wide range of subtle and complex meanings. After the first simple beginnings, human language underwent an explosion of complexity, leading to the very complicated systems of grammar and pronunciation found in modern languages. Jim Hurford looks at the very varied aspects of this evolution, covering human prehistory; the relation between instinct and learning; biology and culture; trust, altruism, and cooperation; animal thought; human and non-human vocal anatomy; the meanings and forms of the first words; and the growth of complex systems of grammar and pronunciation. Written by an internationally recognized expert in the field, it draws on a number of disciplines besides linguistics, including philosophy, neuroscience, genetics, and animal behaviour, and will appeal to a wide range of readers interested in language origins and evolution.
This book explores the distinction between the public and the private, with special concern for the nature of the individual's attachment to public institutions and ideals.
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