Functional flexibility of infant vocalization and the emergence of language

@article{Oller2013FunctionalFO,
  title={Functional flexibility of infant vocalization and the emergence of language},
  author={D. Kimbrough Oller and Eugene H. Buder and Heather L. Ramsdell and Anne S. Warlaumont and Lesya B. Chorna and Roger Bakeman},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  year={2013},
  volume={110},
  pages={6318 - 6323}
}
We report on the emergence of functional flexibility in vocalizations of human infants. This vastly underappreciated capability becomes apparent when prelinguistic vocalizations express a full range of emotional content—positive, neutral, and negative. The data show that at least three types of infant vocalizations (squeals, vowel-like sounds, and growls) occur with this full range of expression by 3–4 mo of age. In contrast, infant cry and laughter, which are species-specific signals… 

Figures from this paper

Flexibility in wild infant chimpanzee vocal behavior
TLDR
The results suggest that the most common chimpanzee vocalization, the grunt is not affectively bound, and this would indicate that the evolution of this foundational vocal capability occurred before the split between the Homo and Pan lineages.
Functional flexibility in wild bonobo vocal behaviour
TLDR
Evidence that wild bonobos use a specific call type across a range of contexts that cover the full valence range in much of their daily activities is found, interpreting this evidence as an example of an evolutionary early transition away from fixed vocal signalling towards functional flexibility.
Preterm and full term infant vocalization and the origin of language
TLDR
Contrary to the expectation that cries are the predominant vocalizations of infancy, the all-day recordings showed that protophones occurred far more frequently than cries in both preterm and full-term infants, indicating an endogenous inclination to vocalize exploratorily, perhaps the most fundamental capacity underlying vocal language.
Language Origins Viewed in Spontaneous and Interactive Vocal Rates of Human and Bonobo Infants
TLDR
Bonobo infants share with humans the capacity to produce vocalizations that appear foundational for language, and there were dramatic differences between the species in both quantity and function of the protophone and protophone-like sounds.
Developmental changes of cognitive vocal control in monkeys
TLDR
The ability of two monkeys to volitionally utter species-specific calls over many years is investigated, suggesting that linguistic capabilities were enabled via an expansion of the juvenile period during the development of humans.
Functionally Flexible Signaling and the Origin of Language
TLDR
At the earliest break of ancient hominins from their primate relatives in vocal communication, it is hypothesize that hominin parents invested more in infants who produced such signals of fitness plentifully, neglecting or abandoning them less often than infants who produce the sounds less frequently.
Protophones, the precursors to speech, dominate the human infant vocal landscape
TLDR
The research shows that protophones outnumber cries by a factor of at least five based on data from random-sampling of all-day recordings across the first year.
Social and endogenous infant vocalizations
TLDR
In laboratory recordings of infants and their parents, the bulk of infant speech-like vocalizations, or “protophones”, were directed toward no one and instead appeared to be generated endogenously, mostly in exploration of vocal abilities.
The Relative Roles of Voice and Gesture in Early Communication Development
TLDR
Investigation of the rates of emergence of both gesture and vocalization in human infants at 4, 7, and 11 months of age suggests vocalization precedes gesture in human communication and forms the predominant foundation for language.
The Origin of Protoconversation: An Examination of Caregiver Responses to Cry and Speech-Like Vocalizations
TLDR
The present work is the first to systematically investigate different temporal patterns of caregiver responses to protophones and to cries, and provides evidence that caregivers are intuitively aware that protophone and cries are functionally different.
...
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 84 REFERENCES
Two organizing principles of vocal production: Implications for nonhuman and human primates
TLDR
Evidence of acoustic modification of calling associated with background noise, conditioning effects, audience composition, and vocal convergence and divergence in nonhuman primates is reviewed and it is suggested that most are more consistent with affectively grounded mechanisms.
THE EMERGENCE OF THE SOUNDS OF SPEECH IN INFANCY
Acoustic analyses of developmental changes and emotional expression in the preverbal vocalizations of infants.
Neuronal Control of Vocal Production in Non-Human and Human Primates
Vocal production is organized on different levels of complexity. The lowest level is represented by vocal reactions that are genetically determined in their acoustic structure and are elicited in a
The Role of Learning and Development in Language Evolution : A Connectionist Perspective
TLDR
In this chapter, a different perspective is provided on this discussion within the domain of linguistic communication, arguing that language evolution to a large extent has been shaped by language learning.
Vocal congruence in mother-infant play
TLDR
It is concluded that a turntaking dialogic structure is being regulated in the mother-infant pair at 4 months in the same way as seen in adult conversation, and both the temporal structure of adult dialogue and its affective correlate are prelinguistic.
The language void: the need for multimodality in primate communication research
Holophrases, speech acts and language universals
  • J. Dore
  • Linguistics
    Journal of Child Language
  • 1975
ABSTRACT The arguments both for and against viewing the child's initial one-word utterances as HOLOPHRASES are reviewed. Some theoretical problems – concerning the innateness of language, the
Human laughter, social play, and play vocalizations of non-human primates: an evolutionary approach
TLDR
Analysis of the occurrence and some acoustic parameters of Barbary macaque and chimpanzee play vocalizations and human laughter during tickling provides further evidence for the hypothesis that human laughter evolved from a play signal of non-human primates and raises questions about the importance of and the relationship between facial and vocal play signals.
The emergence of the speech capacity
Contents: Preface. Interpretation of Communication Systems: The Role of Infrastructural Modeling. Myths About Babbling and the Tradition of Transcription. Reversing the Field: The Recognition of
...
...