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Re: Congenital muteness and speech perception skills

Hi Jose:

The literature examining congenital mutenesss as a test of the validity of motor theory is indeed quite sparse. Eric Lenneberg addressed this issue in his classic book entitled "Biological Foundations of Language", although his case is fraught with difficulty.  As you might expect, numerous factors complicate the use of congenital muteness as an adequate test of motor theory; circumstances that result in muteness may also cause alterations in neurodevelopment or experience that can impact language acquisition and processing. Karin Stromswold of the Department of Psychology & Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers University has written an interesting paper entitled "What a mute child tells about language"  that discusses some of these issues, although it is not specifically directed to motor speech theory. She describes a case of severe speech apraxia who showed normal acquisition of syntax. If you haven't seen it, it makes for some interesting reading. 

It is available at the following link:


Gerry A. Stefanatos, D. Phil., Chairperson,
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders,
Weiss Hall (265-62), 1701 N. 13th St, 
Philadelphia, PA, 19122. 
Phone:Â (215) 204-8402
Fax:Â (215) 204-5954

Date:    Thu, 28 Feb 2008 08:35:02 +0000
From:    =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Jos=E9_Ignacio_Alc=E1ntara?= <jia10@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Congenital muteness and speech perception skills

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Dear List Members,

I've been trawling over the existing literature on auditory (sensory) =20=

versus motor theories of speech perception, and have surprisingly not =20=

seen very much in the way of studies on the effect of congenital =20
muteness but preserved hearing and the development of speech =20
perception skills.  This seems a good test of the validity of the =20
motor theory to my mind.  I would be most grateful to any pointers of =20=

relevant studies conducted that I may have missed.

Many thanks in advance.



JosE Ignacio Alc=E1ntara, M.A., Ph.D.

University Lecturer
Department of Experimental Psychology
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
Cambridge CB2 3EB

Fellow and Tutor,
Director of Studies in Natural Sciences (Biological)
Fitzwilliam College
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Cambridge CB3 0DG

Phone:	44 (0)1223 764412 (Department)
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