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

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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 evolutionary implications of a range of closely related impairments of speech, language and gesture arising from left frontal brain lesions. I discuss aphasic lexical speech automatisms (LSAs) and their resolution with some recovery into agrammatism with apraxia of speech, an impairment of speech planning and programming. I focus attention on the most common forms of LSAs, expletives and the pronoun+modal/aux subtype, and propose that further research into these phenomena can contribute to the debate. I briefly discuss recent studies of progressively degenerating neurological conditions resulting in progressive patterns of cognitive impairments that promises to provide insight into the evolutionary relationships between speech, language and gesture.

Keywords: agrammatism; aphasic speech automatisms; evolution of language and speech; expletives; recurrent utterances

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Exeter/University of Sydney

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems

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