Deriving Speech from Nonspeech: A View from Ontogeny

Peter F. MacNeilage, Barbara L. Davis
2000 Phonetica: International Journal of Phonetic Science  
A comparison of babbling and early speech, word patterns of languages, and, in one instance, a protolanguage corpus, reveals three basic movement patterns: (1) a 'Frame' provided by the cycles of mandibular oscillation underlying the basic mouth close-open alternation of speech; this Frame appears in relatively 'pure' form in the tendency for labial consonants to co-occur with central vowels; (2) two other intracyclical consonant-vowel (CV) co-occurrence patterns sharing the alternation:
more » ... alternation: coronal consonants with front vowels and dorsal consonants with back vowels; (3) an intercyclical tendency towards a labial consonant-vowel-coronal consonant (LC) sequence preference for word initiation. The first two patterns were derived from oral movement capabilities which predated speech. The Frame (1) may have evolved from ingestive cyclicities (e.g. chewing). The intracyclical consonant-vowel (CV) co-occurrence patterns involving tongue position constraints common to consonants and vowels (2) may result from the basic biomechanical property of inertia. The third pattern (LC) was a self-organizational result of pressures for interfacing cognition with action -a result which must have numerous analogs in other domains of movement organization.
doi:10.1159/000028481 pmid:10992148 fatcat:zazgmb3bajaa3pfm7tnqghexz4