Vocal polyphony and Stuttering - Joseph Jordania Website

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Vocal polyphony and Stuttering

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The idea in nutshell is that there is a positive correlation between the presence of vocal polyphony and a higher prevalence of stuttering in a population. This idea was an offshoot of the idea of an asynchronous shift to speech in different human populations. According to this suggestion, after humans shifted to speech, human musicality lost its primary use in aiding humans’ survival, and gradually started to disappear (a somewhat similar idea of a gradual decline of human musicality was proposed by Mithen in “Singing Neanderthal”). I proposed that the ability of choral singing in different parts of the World followed this trend and started disappearing. Importantly though, as the shift to articulated speech happened in different times in different regions, some regions have already lost vocal polyphony whilst other regions are currently in the process of losing their choral traditions.  

You can see here relevant excerpts from my books discussing the correlation between vocal polyphony and stuttering. You can also see my publication that discussed the prevalence of stuttering amongst Chinese populations (I co-wrote this article with Prof. Sheree Reese, speech pathologist from Kean University, New Jersey). In 1991 I did have my first publication on this particular topic, however it was in a newspaper and in Russian, so the text is unfortunately unavailable.


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