On genes, speech, and language

Fisher, S. E. (2005). On genes, speech, and language. The New England Journal of Medicine: NEJM / Publ. by the Massachusetts Medical Society, 353, 1655-1657. doi:10.1056/NEJMp058207.
Learning to talk is one of the most important milestones in human development, but we still have only a limited understanding of the way in which the process occurs. It normally takes just a few years to go from babbling newborn to fluent communicator. During this period, the child learns to produce a rich array of speech sounds through intricate control of articulatory muscles, assembles a vocabulary comprising thousands of words, and deduces the complicated structural rules that permit construction of meaningful sentences. All of this (and more) is achieved with little conscious effort.
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