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Theories of the development of human communication

Delafield-Butt, Jonathan and Trevarthen, Colwyn (2013) Theories of the development of human communication. In: Theories and models of communication. Handbooks of Communication Science . Mouton De Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 199-222. ISBN 9781412918138

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Abstract

This article considers evidence for innate motives for sharing rituals and symbols from animal semiotics, developmental neurobiology, physiology of prospective motor control, affective neuroscience and infant communication. Mastery of speech and language depends on polyrhythmic movements in narrative activities of many forms. Infants display intentional activity with feeling and sensitivity for the contingent reactions of other persons. Talk shares many of its generative powers with music and the other ‘imitative arts’. Its special adaptations concern the capacity to produce and learn an endless range of sounds to label discrete learned understandings, topics and projects of intended movement.