Re: Natural Language and Natural Selection

From: E.J.Fletcher (
Date: Tue Apr 16 1996 - 16:39:18 BST

The infant has the ability to produce phonemes from birth i.e. it has
the ability produce the sound units of any language. As such does the
infant actually have an understanding of what is and what isn't a
phoneme? Does he choose to vocalise some of the sounds which a humans
produce and not others? i.e. shouldn't the child confuse the phonemes
of words with other sounds, which may not be phonemes, but are still
vocalised such as tutting or coughing? e.g. If a child where to tut at
her child and then immediately exclaim his name..."(tut)Harry"... why
shouldn't the child consider '(tut)Harry' as one and the same word?
Does the fact that the child would be exposed to this stimulus rarely,
have any influence? After all, we know that 'tut-like' sounds exist in
some languages.

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