Biological Basis of Speech
Whalen, D. H.* & Lindblom, B.
*Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT, USA.
In K. Brown (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed, Elsevier, Oxford, ISBN 0-08-044299-4: 61-68.
Speech, like language, is a biological system (Liberman and Whalen, 2000). Because it is the part of language with a physical realization, the immediacy of the biology is more apparent than it is for syntax and semantics, but it forms a part of that complete biological system. Language is generally considered the defining characteristic of humans, and it will develop in every neurologically normal child with virtually any exposure to linguistic material. The large investment that is made in being able to acquire and use language is justified by the immense rewards for using it, and the severe penalties for being unable to.