The Frame/Content theory of evolution of speech: A comparison with a gestural-origins alternative
Abstract:The Frame/Content theory deals with how and why the first language evolved the present-day speech mode of programming syllable “Frame” structures with segmental (consonant and vowel) “Content” elements. The first words are considered, for biomechanical reasons, to have had the simple syllable frame structures of pre-speech babbling (e.g., “bababa”), and were perhaps parental terms, generated within the parent–infant dyad. Although all gestural origins theories (including Arbib’s theory reviewed here) have iconicity as a plausible alternative hypothesis for the origin of the meaning-signal link for words, they all share the problems of how and why a fully fledged sign language, necessarily involving a structured phonology, changed to a spoken language.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: The University of Texas at Austin
Publication date: January 1, 2005
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- Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems