Movement Patterns in Spoken Language

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Science  21 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5465, pp. 449-451
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5465.449

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When babies start to babble, they babble some sounds more often than others. In his Perspective, Locke discusses the findings of a new analysis of babbling babies in environments where English or other languages such as French, Swedish, or Japanese are spoken (MacNeilage and Davis). It turns out that babies preferentially babble four sequences of consonant and vowel sounds, a tendency that is reflected in the structure of protowords found in many of the world's languages.