Rhythm in speech and animal vocalizations: a cross-species perspective

Andrea Ravignani, Simone Dalla Bella, Simone Falk, Christopher T Kello, Florencia Noriega, Sonja A Kotz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Why does human speech have rhythm? As we cannot travel back in time to witness how speech developed its rhythmic properties and why humans have the cognitive skills to process them, we rely on alternative methods to find out. One powerful tool is the comparative approach: studying the presence or absence of cognitive/behavioral traits in other species to determine which traits are shared between species and which are recent human inventions. Vocalizations of many species exhibit temporal structure, but little is known about how these rhythmic structures evolved, are perceived and produced, their biological and developmental bases, and communicative functions. We review the literature on rhythm in speech and animal vocalizations as a first step toward understanding similarities and differences across species. We extend this review to quantitative techniques that are useful for computing rhythmic structure in acoustic sequences and hence facilitate cross-species research. We report links between vocal perception and motor coordination and the differentiation of rhythm based on hierarchical temporal structure. While still far from a complete cross-species perspective of speech rhythm, our review puts some pieces of the puzzle together.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-98
Number of pages20
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume1453
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Keywords

  • AUDITORY-MOTOR SYNCHRONIZATION
  • BASAL GANGLIA
  • BEAT PERCEPTION
  • INFANTS PERCEPTION
  • MUSICAL RHYTHM
  • NEURONAL ENTRAINMENT
  • NONHUMAN ANIMALS
  • SENSORIMOTOR SYNCHRONIZATION
  • TURN-TAKING
  • WORD SEGMENTATION
  • bioacoustics
  • hierarchical
  • rhythm cognition
  • speech rhythm
  • time perception
  • timing

Cite this

Ravignani, Andrea ; Dalla Bella, Simone ; Falk, Simone ; Kello, Christopher T ; Noriega, Florencia ; Kotz, Sonja A. / Rhythm in speech and animal vocalizations : a cross-species perspective. In: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2019 ; Vol. 1453, No. 1. pp. 79-98.
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Rhythm in speech and animal vocalizations : a cross-species perspective. / Ravignani, Andrea; Dalla Bella, Simone; Falk, Simone; Kello, Christopher T; Noriega, Florencia; Kotz, Sonja A.

In: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1453, No. 1, 10.2019, p. 79-98.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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T2 - a cross-species perspective

AU - Ravignani, Andrea

AU - Dalla Bella, Simone

AU - Falk, Simone

AU - Kello, Christopher T

AU - Noriega, Florencia

AU - Kotz, Sonja A

N1 - © 2019 The Authors. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of New York Academy of Sciences.

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AB - Why does human speech have rhythm? As we cannot travel back in time to witness how speech developed its rhythmic properties and why humans have the cognitive skills to process them, we rely on alternative methods to find out. One powerful tool is the comparative approach: studying the presence or absence of cognitive/behavioral traits in other species to determine which traits are shared between species and which are recent human inventions. Vocalizations of many species exhibit temporal structure, but little is known about how these rhythmic structures evolved, are perceived and produced, their biological and developmental bases, and communicative functions. We review the literature on rhythm in speech and animal vocalizations as a first step toward understanding similarities and differences across species. We extend this review to quantitative techniques that are useful for computing rhythmic structure in acoustic sequences and hence facilitate cross-species research. We report links between vocal perception and motor coordination and the differentiation of rhythm based on hierarchical temporal structure. While still far from a complete cross-species perspective of speech rhythm, our review puts some pieces of the puzzle together.

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KW - NONHUMAN ANIMALS

KW - SENSORIMOTOR SYNCHRONIZATION

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JO - Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

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