Motor mechanisms in speech ontogeny: phylogenetic, neurobiological and linguistic implications

  title={Motor mechanisms in speech ontogeny: phylogenetic, neurobiological and linguistic implications},
  author={Peter F. MacNeilage and Barbara L. Davis},
  journal={Current Opinion in Neurobiology},

Neurophysiological origin of human brain asymmetry for speech and language

The results support theories of language lateralization that posit a major role for intrinsic, hardwired perceptuomotor processing in syllabic parsing and are compatible both with the evolutionary view that speech arose from a combination of syllable-sized vocalizations and meaningful hand gestures and with developmental observations suggesting phonemic analysis is a developmentally acquired process.

Brain mechanisms of acoustic communication in humans and nonhuman primates: An evolutionary perspective

The proposed model assumes age-dependent interactions between the basal ganglia and their cortical targets, similar to vocal learning in some songbirds, and provides a solution to the question for the adaptive value of the “first word”.

Sequence and hierarchy in vocal rhythms and phonology

  • W. Fitch
  • Biology
    Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
  • 2019
It is hypothesized that phonological hierarchy resulted from a marriage of a preexisting capacity for sequential structure seen in other primates, with novel hierarchical motor control circuitry (potentially evolved in tool use and/or musical contexts), and paved the way for phrasal syntactic hierarchy.

Phylogenetic reorganization of the basal ganglia: A necessary, but not the only, bridge over a primate Rubicon of acoustic communication

Several promising future research directions unfold from the contributions of the target article, based upon FOXP2-driven structural changes at the level of the basal ganglia – with preceding subvocal stages of acoustic communication as well as higher-order dimensions of phonological development.

Opportunities to say ‘yes’: Rare speech automatisms in a case of progressive nonfluent aphasia and apraxia

There was a significant interaction between automatism production and apraxic speech errors and during limb praxic tasks, suggesting that production of the automatism was unrelated to linguistic or lexical variables, but was related to the presence of speech apraxia coupled with disinhibition.

First in, last out?: The evolution of aphasic lexical speech automatisms to agrammatism and the evolution of human communication

Current work in the evolution of language and communication is emphasising a close relationship between the evolution of speech, language and gestural action. This paper briefly explores some

Between ‘whims of fashion’ and ‘phonetic law’: Performance constraints in speech production in the face of linguistic diversity

There is a long tradition in the speech sciences seeking to trace the shaping force of physiological constraints in the world’s languages. Particularly the syllable has been in the focus of



A new puzzle for the evolution of speech?

We agree with MacNeilage's claim that speech stems from a volitional vocalization pathway between the cingulate and the supplementary motor area (SMA). We add the vocal self- monitoring system as the

Speech evolved from vocalization, not mastication

  • U. Jürgens
  • Biology, Physics
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 1998
There is no convincing evidence that syllable segmentation relies on the same pattern generator as mastication, and evidence for a differential cortical representation of syllability segmentation and syllable “content” is also meager.

The motor core of speech: a comparison of serial organization patterns in infants and languages.

Comparison of serial organization of infant babbling and early speech with that of 10 languages reveals four movement-related design features reflecting a deep evolutionary heritage: (1) the cyclical

Motor cortex fields and speech movements: Simple dual control is implausible

We applaud the spirit of MacNeilage's attempts to better explain the evolution and cortical control of speech by drawing on the vast literature in nonhuman primate neurobiology. However, he

Speech automatism production in aphasia

  • C. Code
  • Linguistics
    Journal of Neurolinguistics
  • 1994

Acquisition of Serial Complexity in Speech Production: A Comparison of Phonetic and Phonological Approaches to First Word Production

Abstract Comparison was made between performance-based and competence-based approaches to the understanding of first word production. The performance-related frame/content approach is representative

Movement Patterns in Spoken Language

It turns out that babies preferentially babble four sequences of consonant and vowel sounds, a tendency that is reflected in the structure of protowords found in many of the world9s languages.

Repetitive verbal behaviour: Functional and neurological considerations

Abstract Neurolinguistic, neurological and pathoanatomical data concerning the conditions of production of various forms of repetitive verbal behaviour (echolalia, palilalia, perseveration, recurring

On the origin of internal structure of word forms.

A corpus of proto-word forms shares four sequential sound patterns with words of modern languages and the first words of infants, which support the hypothesis that these four patterns were basic to the origin of words.