Neandertal vocal tract adequate for speech. New investigations, new prospects

Jean-Louis HEIM, Louis-Jean BOË & Christian ABRY

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 1 (2) - Pages 129-134

Published on 31 March 2002


Investigations about the origin of articulated language result in different interpretations dealing with the phonetic capacity of our ancestors, namely after the discovery of the Neandertals. According to anatomic arguments now called to question, principally the position of the larynx as regard to the basis of skull, some authors claimed that these fossil humans could not be endowed with speech. From a new reconstruction of the estimated position of the larynx and the vocal tract, articulatory simulations were undertaken in order to propose some potential vocalic [i a u] prototypes for Neandertals. And we can show Neandertals could pronounce vowels as differentiated as those of modern humans.


vocal tract, larynx, speech, acoustic simulation, Neandertals

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