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Concept: Speech repetition


In most cases, aphasia is caused by strokes involving the left hemisphere, with more extensive damage typically being associated with more severe aphasia. The classical model of aphasia commonly adhered to in the Western world is the Wernicke-Lichtheim model. The model has been in existence for over a century, and classification of aphasic symptomatology continues to rely on it. However, far more detailed models of speech and language localization in the brain have been formulated. In this regard, the dual stream model of cortical brain organization proposed by Hickok and Poeppel is particularly influential. Their model describes two processing routes, a dorsal stream and a ventral stream, that roughly support speech production and speech comprehension, respectively, in normal subjects. Despite the strong influence of the dual stream model in current neuropsychological research, there has been relatively limited focus on explaining aphasic symptoms in the context of this model. Given that the dual stream model represents a more nuanced picture of cortical speech and language organization, cortical damage that causes aphasic impairment should map clearly onto the dual processing streams. Here, we present a follow-up study to our previous work that used lesion data to reveal the anatomical boundaries of the dorsal and ventral streams supporting speech and language processing. Specifically, by emphasizing clinical measures, we examine the effect of cortical damage and disconnection involving the dorsal and ventral streams on aphasic impairment. The results reveal that measures of motor speech impairment mostly involve damage to the dorsal stream, whereas measures of impaired speech comprehension are more strongly associated with ventral stream involvement. Equally important, many clinical tests that target behaviours such as naming, speech repetition, or grammatical processing rely on interactions between the two streams. This latter finding explains why patients with seemingly disparate lesion locations often experience similar impairments on given subtests. Namely, these individuals' cortical damage, although dissimilar, affects a broad cortical network that plays a role in carrying out a given speech or language task. The current data suggest this is a more accurate characterization than ascribing specific lesion locations as responsible for specific language deficits.awx363media15705668782001.

Concepts: Dysprosody, Speech repetition, Conduction aphasia, Psychology, Brain, Aphasia, Traumatic brain injury, Language


Language input is necessary for language learning, yet little is known about whether, in natural environments, the speech style and social context of language input to children impacts language development. In the present study we investigated the relationship between language input and language development, examining both the style of parental speech, comparing ‘parentese’ speech to standard speech, and the social context in which speech is directed to children, comparing one-on-one (1:1) to group social interactions. Importantly, the language input variables were assessed at home using digital first-person perspective recordings of the infants' auditory environment as they went about their daily lives (N =26, 11- and 14-months-old). We measured language development using (a) concurrent speech utterances, and (b) word production at 24 months. Parentese speech in 1:1 contexts is positively correlated with both concurrent speech and later word production. Mediation analyses further show that the effect of parentese speech-1:1 on infants' later language is mediated by concurrent speech. Our results suggest that both the social context and the style of speech in language addressed to children are strongly linked to a child’s future language development.

Concepts: Look Who's Talking, Input, Present, First-person narrative, Linguistics, Natural environment, Speech repetition, Language


In the mature human brain, the arcuate fasciculus mediates verbal working memory, word learning, and sublexical speech repetition. However, its contribution to early language acquisition remains unclear. In this work, we aimed to evaluate the role of the direct segments of the arcuate fasciculi in the early acquisition of linguistic function. We imaged a cohort of 43 preterm born infants (median age at birth of 30 gestational weeks; median age at scan of 42 postmenstrual weeks) using high b value high-angular resolution diffusion-weighted neuroimaging and assessed their linguistic performance at 2 years of age. Using constrained spherical deconvolution tractography, we virtually dissected the arcuate fasciculi and measured fractional anisotropy (FA) as a metric of white matter development. We found that term equivalent FA of the left and right arcuate fasciculi was significantly associated with individual differences in linguistic and cognitive abilities in early childhood, independent of the degree of prematurity. These findings suggest that differences in arcuate fasciculi microstructure at the time of normal birth have a significant impact on language development and modulate the first stages of language learning. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Noam Chomsky, Universal grammar, Language development, Speech repetition, Psychology, Language, Language acquisition, Linguistics


Infants' exposure to human speech within the first year promotes more than speech processing and language acquisition: new developmental evidence suggests that listening to speech shapes infants' fundamental cognitive and social capacities. Speech streamlines infants' learning, promotes the formation of object categories, signals communicative partners, highlights information in social interactions, and offers insight into the minds of others. These results, which challenge the claim that for infants, speech offers no special cognitive advantages, suggest a new synthesis. Far earlier than researchers had imagined, an intimate and powerful connection between human speech and cognition guides infant development, advancing infants' acquisition of fundamental psychological processes.

Concepts: Child development, Speech repetition, Language, Mind, Thought, Developmental psychology, Cognition, Psychology


OBJECTIVE:To examine the prevalence and predictors of language attainment in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and severe language delay. We hypothesized greater autism symptomatology and lower intelligence among children who do not attain phrase/fluent speech, with nonverbal intelligence and social engagement emerging as the strongest predictors of outcome.METHODS:Data used for the current study were from 535 children with ASD who were at least 8 years of age (mean = 11.6 years, SD = 2.73 years) and who did not acquire phrase speech before age 4. Logistic and Cox proportionate hazards regression analyses examined predictors of phrase and fluent speech attainment and age at acquisition, respectively.RESULTS:A total of 372 children (70%) attained phrase speech and 253 children (47%) attained fluent speech at or after age 4. No demographic or child psychiatric characteristics were associated with phrase speech attainment after age 4, whereas slightly older age and increased internalizing symptoms were associated with fluent speech. In the multivariate analyses, higher nonverbal IQ and less social impairment were both independently associated with the acquisition of phrase and fluent speech, as well as earlier age at acquisition. Stereotyped behavior/repetitive interests and sensory interests were not associated with delayed speech acquisition.CONCLUSIONS:This study highlights that many severely language-delayed children in the present sample attained phrase or fluent speech at or after age 4 years. These data also implicate the importance of evaluating and considering nonverbal skills, both cognitive and social, when developing interventions and setting goals for language development.

Concepts: Speech repetition, PDD-NOS, Pervasive developmental disorder, Intelligence, Autism, Language acquisition, Autism spectrum, Asperger syndrome


Fluent speech depends on the availability of well-established linguistic knowledge and routines for speech planning and articulation. A lack of speech fluency in late second-language (L2) learners may point to a deficiency of these representations, due to incomplete acquisition. Experiments on bilingual language processing have shown, however, that there are strong reasons to believe that multilingual speakers experience co-activation of the languages they speak. We have studied to what degree language co-activation affects fluency in the speech of bilinguals, comparing a monolingual German control group with two bilingual groups: 1) first-language (L1) attriters, who have fully acquired German before emigrating to an L2 English environment, and 2) immersed L2 learners of German (L1: English). We have analysed the temporal fluency and the incidence of disfluency markers (pauses, repetitions and self-corrections) in spontaneous film retellings. Our findings show that learners to speak more slowly than controls and attriters. Also, on each count, the speech of at least one of the bilingual groups contains more disfluency markers than the retellings of the control group. Generally speaking, both bilingual groups-learners and attriters-are equally (dis)fluent and significantly more disfluent than the monolingual speakers. Given that the L1 attriters are unaffected by incomplete acquisition, we interpret these findings as evidence for language competition during speech production.

Concepts: Translation, Reason, Speech repetition, Bilingual education, Speech, Linguistics, Multilingualism, Language


Both the input directed to the child, and the child’s ability to process that input, are likely to impact the child’s language acquisition. We explore how these factors inter-relate by tracking the relationships among: (a) lexical properties of maternal child-directed speech to prelinguistic (7-month-old) infants (N = 121); (b) these infants' abilities to segment lexical targets from conversational child-directed utterances in an experimental paradigm; and © the children’s vocabulary outcomes at age 2;0. Both repetitiveness in maternal input and the child’s speech segmentation skills at age 0;7 predicted language outcomes at 2;0; moreover, while these factors were somewhat inter-related, they each had independent effects on toddler vocabulary skill, and there was no interaction between the two.

Concepts: Skill, Developmental biology, Vocabulary, Language, Speech, Speech repetition, Linguistics, Infant


It is a long established convention that the relationship between sounds and meanings of words is essentially arbitrary–typically the sound of a word gives no hint of its meaning. However, there are numerous reported instances of systematic sound-meaning mappings in language, and this systematicity has been claimed to be important for early language development. In a large-scale corpus analysis of English, we show that sound-meaning mappings are more systematic than would be expected by chance. Furthermore, this systematicity is more pronounced for words involved in the early stages of language acquisition and reduces in later vocabulary development. We propose that the vocabulary is structured to enable systematicity in early language learning to promote language acquisition, while also incorporating arbitrariness for later language in order to facilitate communicative expressivity and efficiency.

Concepts: Language, Human, Vocabulary development, Universal grammar, Speech repetition, Language development, Language acquisition, Linguistics


We investigated individual differences in speech imitation ability in late bilinguals using a neuro-acoustic approach. One hundred and thirty-eight German-English bilinguals matched on various behavioral measures were tested for “speech imitation ability” in a foreign language, Hindi, and categorized into “high” and “low ability” groups. Brain activations and speech recordings were obtained from 26 participants from the two extreme groups as they performed a functional neuroimaging experiment which required them to “imitate” sentences in three conditions: (A) German, (B) English, and © German with fake English accent. We used recently developed novel acoustic analysis, namely the “articulation space” as a metric to compare speech imitation abilities of the two groups. Across all three conditions, direct comparisons between the two groups, revealed brain activations (FWE corrected, p < 0.05) that were more widespread with significantly higher peak activity in the left supramarginal gyrus and postcentral areas for the low ability group. The high ability group, on the other hand showed significantly larger articulation space in all three conditions. In addition, articulation space also correlated positively with imitation ability (Pearson's r = 0.7, p < 0.01). Our results suggest that an expanded articulation space for high ability individuals allows access to a larger repertoire of sounds, thereby providing skilled imitators greater flexibility in pronunciation and language learning.

Concepts: Speech, Imitation, Neuroimaging, Speech repetition, German language, Language acquisition, Language, Mimicry


Language is one of the most fascinating abilities that humans possess. Infants demonstrate an amazing repertoire of linguistic abilities from very early on and reach an adult-like form incredibly fast. However, language is not acquired all at once but in an incremental fashion. In this article we propose that the attentional system may be one of the sources for this developmental trajectory in language acquisition. At birth, infants are endowed with an attentional system fully driven by salient stimuli in their environment, such as prosodic information (e.g., rhythm or pitch). Early stages of language acquisition could benefit from this readily available, stimulus-driven attention to simplify the complex speech input and allow word segmentation. At later stages of development, infants are progressively able to selectively attend to specific elements while disregarding others. This attentional ability could allow them to learn distant non-adjacent rules needed for morphosyntactic acquisition. Because non-adjacent dependencies occur at distant moments in time, learning these dependencies may require correctly orienting attention in the temporal domain. Here, we gather evidence uncovering the intimate relationship between the development of attention and language. We aim to provide a novel approach to human development, bridging together temporal attention and language acquisition.

Concepts: Speech repetition, Developmental biology, Language acquisition, Learning, Psychology, Human, Developmental psychology, Linguistics