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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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Scaffolds for Babbling: Innateness and Learning in the Emergence of Contexually Flexible Vocal Production in Human Infants

Scaffolds for Babbling: Innateness and Learning in the Emergence of Contexually Flexible Vocal Production in Human Infants

Chapter:
(p.169) 8 Scaffolds for Babbling: Innateness and Learning in the Emergence of Contexually Flexible Vocal Production in Human Infants
Source:
Evolution of Communicative Flexibility
Author(s):

Michael J. Owren

Michael H. Goldstein

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262151214.003.0008

This chapter highlights the voluntary control of vocalization and the instrumental functions of babbling and other vocalizations. The prelinguistic vocalizations are distinguished from nonlinguistic sounds such as laughter and crying. The chapter characterizes the early and canonical forms of babbling, and shows that the infants first begin to control some aspects of their nonlinguistic vocalizations. It notes that the babbling-scaffold hypothesis argues that the unique flexibility of spoken language in humans may ultimately be traceable to combining an evolutionary innovation (increased corticobulbar connections) with an evolutionary legacy (innate vocal production but more sophisticated auditory learning).

Keywords:   prelinguistic vocalizations, babbling, nonlinguistic sounds, laughter, crying, babbling-scaffold hypothesis, humans, auditory learning

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