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Evolution of Communicative FlexibilityComplexity, Creativity, and Adaptability in Human and Animal Communication$
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D. Kimbrough Oller and Ulrike Griebel

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262151214

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262151214.001.0001

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Contextual Flexibility in Infant Vocal Development and the Earliest Steps in the Evolution of Language

Contextual Flexibility in Infant Vocal Development and the Earliest Steps in the Evolution of Language

Chapter:
(p.141) 7. Contextual Flexibility in Infant Vocal Development and the Earliest Steps in the Evolution of Language
Source:
Evolution of Communicative Flexibility
Author(s):

D. Kimbrough Oller

Ulrike Griebel

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262151214.003.0007

This chapter claims that developmental evidence may be critical in determining the steps of evolution which led to vocal language, concentrating on the appearance of vocal contextual flexibility in the first months of life. It presents a summary of stages of human vocal development and the natural logic that seems to predispose their orderly occurrence. The chapter shows that the developmental patterns in humans in the second and third years of life meet the patterns which would be expected based on the idea that the protolanguage-to-full-fledged-language sequence is required by natural logic. The chapter proposes that interleaving of word and (analytical) multiword stages must have occurred in the evolution of human language.

Keywords:   vocal language, vocal contextual flexibility, humans, vocal development, natural logic, human language

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