|Not wishing to get sidetracked, but given that 'evolutionary (psychology of hearing)' seems to have been implied as a possible reason for our high-frequency hearing, I think it's best to be clear about what this actually means, so that the 'tail doesn't wag the dog'. It does seem true that our auditory system seems especially well tuned to perceive speech events, and as such, it is tempting to assume that this is because both language and audition developed (evolved) together. Another (equally valid and perhaps more parsimonious) explanation, which has also been proposed, might be that audition came 'first' and that language has co-opted the existing system in such a way that it has taken advantage of whatever auditory processing limits there were/are (and possible speech production limits as well). The latter explanation would also explain the observed fine tuning for speech, but crucially, it would posit that we are good at perceiving those speech sounds that we happen to be good at discriminating (and producing). |
In other words, as Kevin suggests, our high-frequency hearing most certainly came about before Liza Minnelli had cause to expound:
"It's Liza with a Z, Not Lisa with an S, 'Cause Lisa with an S Goes "sss" not "zzz"..."
On 2 Feb 2011, at 21:47, Kevin Austin wrote: