Liz Bates bates at CRL.UCSD.EDU
Fri Apr 25 21:00:14 UTC 1997

"I can see how you might believe "phonology" to
be unique if you only look at us and other primates...and I can imagine
that the way humans arrive at things like syllabic templates is
accomplished in humans  by a human mechanism." (DPAT)

Patricia Kuhl, Keith Kluender and others have shown since the 1970's that
several other mammals and birds are able not only to hear phonological
contrasts like "ba" vs. "ga", but they also hear them categorically, with
boundaries similar to those that prevail in humans.  The weight of evidence
suggests that the innate contribution to speech processing may NOT be
specific to speech or to humans.  On the contrary, it looks rather as
though speech has evolved to take advantage of pre-existing properties of
the mammalian (and perhaps avian) auditory system. -liz bates

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