104 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Similarities and Differences, Language and Music
This is the best book so far on language, the brain, and music. It is highly technical, especially the first five chapters. Nonspecialists with a serious interest can get through the last two ("Meaning" and "Evolution") but the first five are hard going unless you are fairly advanced.
Patel reviews an enormous, and almost entirely very new, literature on...
Published on August 29, 2008 by E. N. Anderson
6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So much disappointed and disappointing
This is an essential book on an essential subject. What is the managing device of both language and music in the brain. And yet you are going to be very disappointed by some essential absences, lacks and wants in the book and by some dubious arguments.
The immense positive side of this book is that it understands language and music are two mental activities...
Published 19 months ago by Jacques COULARDEAU
Most Helpful First | Newest First
104 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Similarities and Differences, Language and Music,
Patel reviews an enormous, and almost entirely very new, literature on similarities and differences at the micro level between language and music. Overall, music is clearly related to language in many ways, but equally clearly a separate realm--a different communicative modality.
He also points out that music and its meanings are learned. We are not born knowing that minor key is "sad"; that's a recent west-European idea, unknown to the rest of the universe. We have to learn about the pastorality of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, and so on. On the other hand, lullabyes sound like mothers shushing their babies, and I would add that laments in every culture sound like ordinary weeping. Still, most musical meanings appear to be culturally learned.
This is an excellent book, and I am duly impressed with all of it, but I do have some modest points to raise. First, I would find music and language somewhat closer than he does. He rules out of consideration a number of intermediate forms--chant, rhythmic speech (like African-American sermons), incantation, word-music poetry (like Russian romantic lyrics), children's play-games, and a great deal more. It seems that a huge percentage of human communication, including much of the most important religious material in every culture, is in that neglected border zone. Something very important is here and is being missed.
Second, he concludes language definitely evolved, but music is a rather recent invention--not an evolved part of communication. I am usually highly allergic to "genes as destiny," and this is surely the first time I ever argued for a genetic explanation against a learning-based one! But I can't separate music and language enough to see music as a recent invention. It depends on some of the same recursive hierarchic-nesting systems of planning as language does; it is universal among humans; it is deeply important; it seems a physical need for a lot of people. Of course I cannot be sure if this means there really is an evolved mechanism, and the question remains open.
Third, he rather misses the relevance of bird song. He is aware of, but strangely downplays, recent work showing that many (most?) songbirds learn their songs and use them to recognize their mates, neighbors, local dialect sharers, and so on. Birds also use song to keep in touch with their families, show their levels of health (as pointed out by Marlene Zuk), show their reproductive status, find each other, and much else. They also use song to communicate their mood states: level of arousal, type of arousal, and more. This is important, as will appear below.
Many songbirds are quite brilliant composers; mockingbirds and many others incorporate all sorts of learned noises into their songs, change the noises to fit their song patterns, work them into original phrases, and so on. Of course no bird comes close to composing even a simple song in the human sense (i.e. a single hierarchically-nested composition using phrases to carry out an overall plan). Bird song has mere "phrase structure grammar," to be technical; they don't do sentences. (No nonhuman animal is known to.) But they are doing something more than just marking territory and finding a mate. Actually, many of the best singers mate for life and don't need to find a mate in most years. Yet they and their mates often sing to each other. Also, many birds sing all year round, not just in the breeding season. We don't know what they are saying, but obviously a lot. Very simple calls do fine for territory-and-mating. Song is incredibly dangerous (hawks and cats home in on it) and expensive (it takes a lot of brain tissue, enough to be a real cost in flying). If the simple and humble songs of birds are this complex and demanding, human music must be a really major enterprise, far more important than social scientists have allowed till now. Bird songs are important because no nonhuman primates and very few other mammals are known to have complex learned songs. Bird songs are about our only models. (Whales sing too, but don't make great lab animals.)
I think music evolved, and did so to handle the management, manipulation, and communication of broad, general, but intense mood-states. Language handles the specific cognitive information; music handles the powerful but unsayable moods. Partly, the moods are directly represented in the music (as in lullabyes and laments); partly we learn our cultures' rules about communicating.
There is a great deal more to say about this, especially when one folds religious chants into the mix. We need more dialogue and better cross-cultural and cross-species knowledge. Is there a group out there working on this?
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Music & Language: Heavy Brain Work,
This work is intended for the scholar, interested in learning about current research in acquisition of both language and music. In his introduction Dr. Patel clearly states that "...this book is written to be accessible to individuals with primary training in either music or language studies." This is an accurate description of the work. The book is densely annotated, an asset to scholars and researchers. The form of annotation, however, is a hindrance to fluid reading of the thesis of the work.
I had a particular interest in finding Dr. Patel's comments on
memory for language and music. Although there is a complete index
to this work, the word "memory" does not appear in it. Neither does
the topic of Memory appear in the book's well-outlined structure. The work is entirely about acquisition of language and music, and the neurological research which has identified those processes.
As a (retired) psychologist I found the book understandable, but do
not recommend it for lay persons to read, no matter how strong
their interest in music or language.
Merle Fischlowitz, Ph.D.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you have to pick one book on the subject...,
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dense, fascinating and informative read,
This review is from: Music, Language, and the Brain (Paperback)Music, Language and the Brain is a well-researched and comprehensively presented comparison of the ways in which humans process music and language in the brain. Patel presents his information in an entertaining and informative manner. The book consists of seven chapters, the first an introduction and the remaining six an examination of characteristics music and language share. These include pitch and timbre, rhythm, melody, syntax, meaning and evolution. These chapters are then further subdivided (and sub-subdivided); examples of some of these subdivisions include sections specifically about music or language, or sections comparing the two. As someone who has always enjoyed both language and music, I found the book an engrossing but difficult read.
This subdivision of chapters makes the massive amount of information Patel presents more digestible, as does his style. Dense but not weighted down in jargon, Patel does an admirable job of condensing his research into the simplest terms possible, making the complex cognitive systems used to process language and music possible for a laymen to understand. Breaking down language and music into multiple shared components allowed for more effective contrast and a more effective explanation of both music and language alone - the understanding afforded of the specific components led to a better understanding of how both systems functioned in their entireties. Within the chapters themselves, the subdivision of chapters into a description of music, language, and then "key links," which Patel describes as "areas in which direct comparisons are proving fruitful" provides an effect overview of the topic.
For the remainder of the review, I'll be focusing on my favorite chapter (the one on melody) because I think it displays both the strengths and weaknesses of the book well. Melody is a difficult concept to define - to many people, including me, the term is intuitive more than anything else - but Patel does an excellent job of providing his own definition ("an organized sequence of pitches that conveys a rich variety of information to a listener"), and then goes on to explain the significant points of his definition and why he believes they are important. In this case, the two most important points in this definition are the fact that "melodies are tone sequences that pack a large informational punch" and that "a tone sequence qualifies as a melody by virtue of the rich mental patterns it engenders in the listener." Compared to the dictionary definitions he also provides, Patel's definition is much closer to my intuitive understanding of the term memory.
Most of the chapter is devoted to melody in music, for obvious reasons - melody in music is easily and immediately identifiable, and there are often more variations in musical melody than there is linguistic melody. (The sentence "[i]f a musical melody is "a group of tones in love with each other" (Shaheen, quoted in Hast et. al, 1999), then a linguistic melody is a group of tones that work together to get a job done" is a typical example of Patel's excellent synthesis of his own work with his research, expressed with clarity and wit.) After a description of melody in both music and language, he defines his key links as melodic statistics and melodic contour, emphasizing his point by including the fact that "quantitative differences emerge between the music of two nations that reflect linguistic differences." He also describes amusia ("deficits in musical perception and/or production abilities following brain damage that are not simply due to hearing loss or some other peripheral auditory disorder") and tone deafness ("severe problems with music perception and production that cannot be attributed to hearing loss, lack of exposure to music, or any obvious nonmusical social or cognitive impairments"). To further emphasize the connection between melody in speech and melody in music, he cites a study that states that people suffering from amusia were unable to recognize not only tones in music but also emphasis in speech, indicating that "intonation and tone-sequence processing overlap in the brain."
The remaining chapters all follow this general template effectively and informatively: music and language apart, key links, and sometimes a description of a relevant disease such as tone deafness in the chapter on melody or aphasia in the chapter on syntax to further elaborate on the processing of music and language in the brain.
When I think of melody, however, I know that I personally think most often of a melody that's sung - a song, rather than a piece of music. Including music with lyrics could have been a fascinating connection of both language and music, a bit of a missed opportunity, I think (although it is hard to fault Patel for the research he didn't do when he did do so much). There are only two pages on song in this book where I imagine it could be the subject of a separate book on its own, which was a bit of a disappointment for me. Similarly, the inclusion of something like poetry or even dramatic language - a speech, political or otherwise, rather than everyday language, could have provided a more in-depth comparison. This is, however, addressed in his introduction, where he says "[c]omparing ordinary language to instrumental music forces us to search for the hidden connections that unify obviously different phenomena." Maybe the inclusion of poetry and music with lyrics rather than instrumental music could be the next step? The only other complaint I have is that Patel could have included more about the way the brain processes music and language; a more in-depth description of these processes would have helped me personally. These problems are not confined solely to the chapter on melody, either - they hold true throughout the book; Patel focuses more on linguistics and acoustics rather than neuroscience.
These are admittedly fairly minor quibbles, though, and Patel recognizes and addresses many of them. Many academics have read and enjoyed this book, including Oliver Sacks and reviewers at Nature, Nature Neuroscience, and Language and Cognition have read and enjoyed this book, but it is just as accessible for students as it is Ph.D's, thanks to Patel's writing. It is not an easy read, but it is well worth the time and effort. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested in language, music, or the brain, regardless of level of expertise.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great reference book,
This review is from: Music, Language, and the Brain (Paperback)I bought this book because I had seen it mentioned in a few other books I had read on the topic of music and the brain. Oliver Sacks and Daniel Levitin have both referenced this work at some time. I am, as a music teacher in public schools, always looking for ways to strengthen the argument for keeping music instruction alive in the public schools, and have always believed that the links between learning language and learning music might be one of the building blocks of this argument. I have only just started reading this dense volume, but it is chock full of rigorous research and is very accessible even to regular people. It has been written to be accessible either to musicians -which I am- or neurologists-which I am not, and in the reading I have done so far, this seems to be the case. It is a book also which is meant to be read over time, and not necessarily in the order as it is presented. Each of the sections can stand alone, and I have found even that I can dip into it for a particular bit of information and come away with something new to add to my understanding of how music, language and the brain all work together.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book for those Interested in Both Music and Language,
This review is from: Music, Language, and the Brain (Paperback)One of the most fascinating topics in both cognitive psychology and neuroscience is the
way humans communicate with one another. Language is unique to humans and is inevitably a
topic of both interest and curiosity. However, its uniqueness is also what makes it extremely hard
to study. Despite the intrigue evoked by the topic, research progress has been slow due to the
limited number of techniques that can be conducted ethically on human subjects. Luckily,
Aniruddh D. Patel has taken the time to thoroughly explore this possibility in his book, "Music,
Launguage, and the Brain." In this book he carefully details aspects of both music and language
in order to successfully create and defend the theory that music and language are processed and
created in the brain using linked pathways. Furthermore, he appeals to several audiences by
including an non-biased account of both research on the music perception pathway and research
on the language perception pathway.
One element that makes this book so versatile is the fact that Patel frames the information
regarding both music and language research in an equal manner so that someone coming from
either a primarily music or primarily language background can see the connections between the
two domains easily and sufficiently understand the material. These connections include elements
of sound such as pitch and timbre, rhythm, melody, syntax, meaning, and evolution. A researcher
from either domain would agree that these elements are very important to their topic of study,
and this in itself supports Patels argument that music and language share deep critical
connections within the brain. He creates a convincing and well-supported argument by devoting
a chapter to each of the six topics listed previously. These chapters each serve to support Patel's
claim that there may be a neural connection between music and language mechanisms in the
Patel begins with elements of sound, focusing on mainly pitch and timbre. These
elements naturally play a role in both language and music, and Patel argues in this chapter that
sound category learning is the key link between music and language when it comes to sound
elements. He argues that while on the surface, the fact that speech does not typically incorporate
pitch and timbre differences like music does, the bigger picture is the fact that the brain's ability
to build two completely different sound category systems demonstrates category learning. A
great place to research connections between music and language isn't necessary the sound
elements themselves, but the mechanisms that create and maintain these sound category systems.
In the second chapter, Patel moves on to talk about rhythm. Rhythm is guided by what
it commonly known as the beat, or the force adding an element of measurement to music.
It also allows one to follow along more easily with the music. The connection is then made
between rhythm and language. The most common connection is that regarding poetry, which is
commonly read with somewhat of a rhythmic patterning based on strong and soft syllables. Patel
uses the fact that rhythm is found in both music and language as evidence that there may be a
neural connection between the ways these two types of sounds are processed by the brain.
Patel talks about melody in the third chapter. In this chapter, he takes more of a
comparative approach, comparing music and language more directly throughout, instead of
introducing them each separately in light of the topic of melody. He first describes how melody
is created and interpreted in music based on specific differences in pitch, which creates what
is often referred to as phrases. This relates to language, which is also often influenced by pitch
changes. For example, someone asking a question will usually add an inflection to the end of the
sentence, or phrase, to indicate that they are asking a question. This connection is crucial and
further drives home Patel's theory.
In chapter four, Patel further supports his argument by introducing syntax as a main
connection between language and music. Just like speech is divided into parts, such as
phonemes, which are combined to create sounds, which comprise individual words, which go in
to the composition of sentences, music similarly is guided by syntax, where there are individual
notes, which comprise phrases, which are combined to create subsections and ultimately a piece
of music. Despite the extreme differences in types of syntax used between music and language,
both involve multiple levels of organization. The ability of the brain to create these multiple
levels in these two different systems serves as yet another potential link between the way the
brain interprets music and language.
Patel next tackles the topic of musical vs. linguistic meaning. He begins by introducting
intramusical and extramusical meaning, which are crucial for his argument. Intramusical
meaning is found when an element of music reminds someone of another musical element, and
extramusical meaning is found when an element of music brings to mind something related to
things outside of music. When comparing this type of meaning to the meaning in language, it
is important to remember, Patel points out, that meaning doesn't necessarily refer to semantic
meaning. Extramusical meaning can refer simply to emotions that are evoked. In the same way,
emotions can be evoked through written work; just as a song can make you feel happy or sad, a
written work can do the same. This connection is crucial because all audiences can connect to
this point and accept it as relevant support.
Finally, in chapter six Patel talks about the connections that are possible between
music and language in relation to evolution, and how it is very possible that the brain evolved
over time to purposefully connect these two pathways. He argues that music is not adaptive
or something you are born able to develop and understand; that complex musical ability is
characteristic of humans, and is something developed to serve a specific purpose, just as the
internet was manifested to serve a specific purpose. Similarly, language was developed in order
to share complex thoughts and to accumulate knowledge. He concludes that the brain over time
developed both the language and music perception pathways for a purpose.
"Music, Language, and the Brain" is not only exceptional as an informatory piece, but
it is also quite entertaining and easy to understand. One of the reasons for this is that the book
has brilliant organization. It is organized in such a well thought-out way that each chapter of
the book has the ability to stand on its own. Patel wrote the chapters purposefully this way, and
claims so in the introduction. This is especially useful because people studying a specific aspect
of language and/or music can easily find that section of the book and read specifically in regards
to what interests them. Furthermore, this organization allows readers who choose to read the
book from cover to cover an easy way to organize their thoughts about what they are reading.
This helps them to take it all in and retain more successfully the main points of the book that
Patel is trying to get across.
Aside from organization, the voice and diction that Patel chooses to use throughout the
book convey the relevant information to the reader. The book is written in such a way that
someone with little to no background could easily follow along. That being said, Patel also finds
a way to efficiently include detailed information regarding research and the specific findings that
have been made thus far in such a way that they are useful for those studying in the field, yet not
too complicated or confusing for a casual reader to get lost in. This is an amazing feat in itself,
since incorporating scientific language and jargon into a book meant to be understood by any
kind of reader is no easy feat to accomplish. This says something tremendous about Patel as not
only a writer, but also a researcher. Research is only relevant in the long run if it is able to be
applied to life, and communicating the progress and scientific basis of the connection between
music and language to all audiences is what makes this book exceptional.
In conclusion, Patel successfully uses six specific elements with strong connections to
both music and language to convince the reader that there is a very possible connection between
the ways these two processes take place in the brain. I believe that "Music, Language, and the
Brain" is worthy of 4.5 stars. Not only does Patel include detailed explanations, but he also lays
out his evidence in a detailed and convincing manner. He uses clever organization as well as an
easy-to-read diction to convey this argument to readers from all backgrounds, and this is what
makes "Music, Language, and the Brain" a truly exceptional book. It is informative, intriguing,
and appropriate for all audiences. Anyone interested in either music or language would benefit
from reading this book. Patel does a phenomenal job of fueling the growing interest in
connections between music and language in the brain, and it will inevitably lead to more
research being done in the field to validate the theory Patel, and surely others, hold regarding
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Am I that smart?,
This review is from: Music, Language, and the Brain (Paperback)I don't think so, but I admit I didn't find it as difficult as rumored. It IS very detailed. Basically, it's a comparison of the linguistic aspects of pitch, timbre and rythm between language and music. Many of the details, all backed up by annotated research studies, are quite interesting. By themselves, they don't provide an answer to the big question of the evolutionary relationships between the two. Speculations on this are provided in the last chapter. I'm now reading Mithren's SINGING NEANDERTHALS for a more bluesky view. This book, the book reviewed, is a necessary prerequisite to any of that more general work and I would recommend it to any student of language or music.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy, But Difficult Read,
This review is from: Music, Language, and the Brain (Kindle Edition)A dense and difficult work. Being neither a musician nor a neurologist, the work was difficult at best. I was looking for something that would help students. This would help upper level and graduate students who already know the field, but not beginning undergrads.
6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So much disappointed and disappointing,
This review is from: Music, Language, and the Brain (Paperback)This is an essential book on an essential subject. What is the managing device of both language and music in the brain. And yet you are going to be very disappointed by some essential absences, lacks and wants in the book and by some dubious arguments.
The immense positive side of this book is that it understands language and music are two mental activities that are managed by the brain, though I would prefer the mind, and that the two managing devices, if we can reduce the very complex coordination of the necessary mental abilities for both language and music, or for either language or music, are situated somewhere in the brain though not in one specific area.
But at once the shortcomings arrive. It would have been very interesting to really work on brain-imaging when some linguistic and musical activities are performed by the human subject. This absence of clinical observation and experimentation is very critical since then the references to medical research is only scholastic or third had n at least.
The second enormous drawback is the fact that the author does not study in detail the complete apparatus to produce language, to hear language, to read language, or on the other side to hear music, produce music to read music. Same want and absence with the complete apparatus to compose music, to perform music, to produce oral or written language, and at that level the author absolutely excludes any non common everyday language use, which is absurd because there is nothing that is everyday common language use, except maybe the conversation you may have on a subway train, or a public bus that is altogether reduced to something like 200 or 300 words and the simplest syntactic structures like "the weather is nice today, isn't it", whereas music is always an elaborate complex creative activity, even when it is only humming a tune in your head.
In other words he compares a doughnut, maybe without a hole in the middle, on the linguistic side and a fancy wedding cake on the musical side. Obviously the comparison is uneven and then he misses a point. And what's worse this is syncretic thinking, but that is a basic remark because his basic way of thinking is syncretic and through comparisons.
In fact he misses the creative use of language in two different ways. For one he misses the creative use of language in everyday life: slang, cockney creativity and all other dialects in that urban line, poetry, drama, television, debates, cinema, opera and so many other everyday activities, universal for some of them like TV news. The second way he misses it is that he never even envisages the fact that language did not come like a coconut on a tree. It was produced, invented by Homo Sapiens. The phylogeny of language is absolutely absent from his mind and we all know that the psychogenesis of language - that he considers - is in a way or another a reflection of the phylogeny of the same language. Hence he cannot understand that the development of language also induced a development not so much of the brain but of the mind.
He absolutely misses the invention of language as being nothing but a collateral consequence of a basically physical and mental survival strategy of the human species with Homo Sapiens. He would have discovered that the very physiologically dangerous lowering of the larynx was genetically and naturally selected for the breathing of a bipedal long distance running species (the first and only one on earth). In the same way he would have discovered that the breathing requirements for this activity implied the development of the diaphragm, the lungs and the heart and that his funny little protein known as FOXP2 is not only present in the brain, in highly coordinating areas, but also in the guts massaged by the diaphragm used in long distance bipedal running, in the lungs used for the same activity and in the heart used for the same activity too. He would have also understood that the articulation needed for human language depends on the depth of the larynx but also on the breathing and its regulation and on the articulatory power of the mouth, the tongue and the sinuses. All that is also needed for long distance running and breathing. The hypoglossal nerve and canal with its unique size in Homo Sapiens control the articulatory apparatus needed for long distance breathing and running as well as linguistic articulation.
Then he would have understood that his hypothesis of some kind of genetic natural selection for language, targeting language was a mistake. Language is the side effect, some would say the collateral side effect, of long distance running and breathing, including a mutation, the lowering of the larynx (and the best part is he actually mentions the choking hazard of this mutation), that is dangerous for the survival of the human subject and that only develops in the human, subject after six months and within three years, hence when the child learns how to sit and then walk, which is entirely physical though complex and hence dominated, controlled and managed by the zones and proteins specialized for this coordination of complex activities in the brain, the locali in the brain where you find FOXP2. Language like music is a complex mental activity founded more than music on a physical array of capabilities that are there for a totally other reason than language.
Then his ten plus supplementary, arguments for the genetically selected capability to speak are just superficial, especially the FOXP2 that I would consider as definitely unacceptable since Sally McBrearty has convincingly rejected the thesis about the Neolithic Human Revolution. Maybe Oxford should listen to or simply read Cambridge a little bit more.
The second (but is it only the second?) shortcoming of the book is that he mixes up mind and brain (though he never uses the term central nervous system). Maybe he should have used the term central nervous system. That would have led him to a consideration that Bertrand Russell defended some 90 years ago. All stimuli from the outside world only create some nervous influx impact on the five senses of the human subject. These sensations are nothing and most of our sensations go unidentified, unnoticed and of course unprocessed. For a sensation to be processed the sixth sense of the Buddhists has to come into the picture, and that is the mind. In other words, Russell's words, the mind only knows the constructs that it builds in the brain from the sensations it receives via the central nervous system. This is the crux of the problem. The mind receives nervous influx and the mind, with its central nervous system and its education, and its experience, constructs representations that are what it works with. In other words notes (pitches), intervals, beats, rhythm and words, phonemes, lexemes, semantemes, and all syntactic elements are nothing but constructs. The mind, and the brain, only have developed the capability to manage complex activities and to analyze complex objects, sensations and perceptions.
Then we come to a methodological mistake and this one is not even debatable. The author compares as if comparing were proving. This is basic syncretic thinking which is unacceptable in any scientific reasoning. Metaphorical thinking can be poetically very rich but it is nothing but a metaphor. Comparing language and music is such a metaphor and has no value whatsoever. Music does not have words endowed with a signifying phonetic dress and a signified semantic content. What's more syntax is purely linguistic since it implies some abstract functional values that have nothing to do with subject and object (the function the author uses) and certainly not with the architecture of music. The architecture of a bird and a plane could be compared since both do the same thing, they fly, but that would in many ways be absurd since the bird has a physiological architecture and the plane has a man-made technical architecture. Can we compare the architecture of Mount Everest and the Empire State Building since both of them are scraping the sky? Asking the question is answering it at the same time.
That leads to two conclusions the author misses. A child today in his/her physiology and learning procedure recreates the invention of language by Homo Sapiens. A child in the dire trauma of birth and hunger learns in the hard way the need to communicate to simply survive. A child at birth has a nine month heritage of in utero experience and empathetic sharing with his mother and a twenty week hearing period when he could assimilate phonetic clusters, music, rhythm among others those of his heart (from the fourth week onward) and his mother's heart. All that is neglected and in a way rejected by the author. And of course he has not heard of mirror neurons that make children imitate everything in the adults around him/her including the sounds, as soon as he physiologically can produce them. By the way the babble he likes so much is nothing but the association of the flow of air that produces the vowel /a/ when the larynx starts lowering and the lip movements of sucking the mother's breast or the feeding bottle and that produces /m/ but if some "dental" movement of the tongue comes into the articulation it produces /d/ and if it is the movement of the lips ending the sucking movement, then it is the sound /b/. The author considers babbling as some kind of genetic miracle, when it is nothing but the result of the basic activities, and feelings, of an empathetic child that learned that in his mother, is endowed with mirror neurons, is learning lip movements by feeding and is using the air flow the starting of the lowering of the larynx is endowing him with.
In other words this book is good if you have a lot of knowledge in the field that you can review, revise and air freely. Otherwise it is fully misleading.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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Music, Language, and the Brain by Aniruddh D. Patel (Paperback - June 1, 2010)