• Publications
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The faculty of language: what is it, who has it, and how did it evolve?
We argue that an understanding of the faculty of language requires substantial interdisciplinary cooperation. We suggest how current developments in linguistics can be profitably wedded to work in
Morphology and development of the human vocal tract: a study using magnetic resonance imaging.
  • W. Fitch, J. Giedd
  • Biology
    The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
  • 23 August 1999
TLDR
Findings have implications for speech recognition, speech forensics, and the evolution of the human speech production system, and provide a normative standard for future studies of human vocal tract morphology and development.
Vocal tract length and formant frequency dispersion correlate with body size in rhesus macaques.
  • W. Fitch
  • Physics
    The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
  • 1 August 1997
TLDR
Formant dispersion is the averaged difference between successive formant frequencies, and was found to be closely tied to both vocal tract length and body size in macaques, and probably many other species.
The evolution of speech: a comparative review
  • W. Fitch
  • Biology, Psychology
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 1 July 2000
Computational Constraints on Syntactic Processing in a Nonhuman Primate
TLDR
Monkeys tested with the same methods, syllables, and sequence lengths were unable to master a grammar at this higher, “phrase structure grammar” level, but it is demonstrated that monkeys can spontaneously master such grammars.
Calls out of chaos: the adaptive significance of nonlinear phenomena in mammalian vocal production
TLDR
It is suggested that nonlinear phenomena may subserve individual recognition and the estimation of size or fluctuating asymmetry from vocalizations, and neurally ‘cheap’ unpredictability may serve the valuable adaptive function of making chaotic calls difficult to predict and ignore.
Unpacking “Honesty”: Vertebrate Vocal Production and the Evolution of Acoustic Signals
TLDR
R roaring rates of individual males are highly correlated with their fighting ability and thus provide an accurate indication of the males' ability to repel intruders, and has since become a classic example of "truth in advertising" in an animal vocalization.
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