Chapter Three—Some physiological correlates


I. Aim of Physiological Discussions in this Monograph

  Language, as any type of behavior, is seen as a manifestation of intricate physiological processes. In higher mammals the processes have many common denominators, but they have also undergone modifications in accordance with specializations in behavior.


II. Respiration

1Respiratory adaptations in general

2Respiratory adaptations to language

3Other motor changes indirectly related to respiratory adaptations

   Respiration, which is in many ways identical in a wide variety of species, shows particularly well forms of adaptations to species-specific behavior patterns.


III. Speech Production

1Discrete articulatory events

2Rate of articulatory events

3Ordering of articulatory events


IV. Problems Arising from Rate and Ordering

   Throughout of duration of individual speech sounds, muscles must be activated at such rapid succession that a neuronal firing order must be assumed that functions with an accuracy of milliseconds.


V. The Problem of the Organizing Principle: Rhythm

1The rhythmic nature of articulation

    aDelayed feedback

    bSignal switching between right and left ear

    cRate of interruptions

    dRate of syllable production

    ePsychological correlates

    fNeurological correlates: EEG

    gNeurological correlates: Pacing of speech during thalamic stimulation

    Patterning in time is based on an underlying rhythmic metric. The hypothesis is advanced that the temporal patterns on which the neuromuscular automatisms are based have at their roots a physiological rhythm consisting of periodic changes of “states” at a rate of 6 + or – cps. Indirect evidence is cited that articulation itself reflects such a basic rhythm.


2Final comments on speech rhythmicity ( cultural, individual, and biological variations )


VI. Summary