Children learn to speak “by ear”
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Research Proposal
Speech understanding
Inferior colliculus lesions
Brainstem aphasia
fMRI of the inferior colliculi
Testing strategies
Anticipated results

Working hypotheses
Language areas on fMRI
Effects of asphyxia at birth
Maturation of the brain
Time-table of myelination
Learning to speak "by ear"
Metabolism in the brain
Protective mechanisms
Catastrophic factors
Brainstem damage
Roger Brown and his student Ursula Bellugi came to this conclusion after
extensive analysis of copious recordings of the early utterances of three children.
Rapin (1997) suggested that some children with
autism exhibit a "verbal auditory agnosia" (VAA), and
appear not to recognize syllable and word
boundaries in rapid streams of speech [
Roger Brown 1925-1997
Recognition of the importance of auditory function for normal
language development  appears to be increasing [
86, 114-121].
October 2006
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Working version
Before the language areas of the cerebral cortex are fully developed.
Children appear to hear and use stressed syllables first, and employ these
smallest units of meaning (morphemic units) in the "telegraphic speech"
characteristic of baby-talk [
Children begin to use syntax as maturation  of the
cortical language areas takes place - but still via the
auditory route [
Early auditory system impairments in children who are
late learning to speak appear to lead to persisting
learning problems [
Refs >>