Transmission of the Communicative Competence: Genetic, Cultural, When, and How?

Hanuŝ Papouŝek
Published Online:
27 Sep 2007
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 28 Issue 5

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Several recent contributions from various disciplines have improved the interpretation of determinants influencing the interrelated processes of speech acquisition, and cognitive and emotional development. The existence of precursors of abstract symbolisation and of words in the animal world suggest a continuity in the evolution of communicative capacities. In man, evolution has not only favoured a specific precocity in communicative development in infants, but also the co‐evolution of a species‐specific environmental support for speech acquisition in caretakers. Thus, speech acquisition results from both biogenetic predispositions and environmental support as it becomes evident in micro‐analysis of parent‐infant interactions and experimental verifications. The preverbal period of communicative development appears in a new light from theoretical and clinical views.

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