We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Speech Repetition?

By Daphne Mallory
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

When a human being repeats what another person has said, this is speech repetition. Although this may sound insignificant, repetition actually plays a vital role in young children's language acquisition. Vocal imitation arises in language development before speech comprehension. Speech repetition begins as early as 12 weeks through what is commonly called babbling. By approximately two years of age, children are creating monologues in which they repeat and manipulate phrases and sentences they've overheard. They use this type of word play to move from repetition to comprehension. The ability to utilize repetition is also important for older children and adults. Continued language development, such as learning new vocabulary or second language acquisition, typically requires the ability to imitate others before language or word acquisition can occur.

In 1874, Carl Wernicke made the assertion that the ability to imitate speech played an integral role in language acquisition. He stated that speech repetition provides the basis for original and longer sentences and that imitating language leads children to analyze the linguistic rules, pronunciation patterns, and conversational pragmatics of speech. When children have this language base, then they can begin to move on to speech perception, or meaning. Children are required to learn, at a very rapid pace, the pronunciation and use of thousands of words. If they cannot utilize speech repetition, according to Wernicke, they cannot learn language.

Two brain cortical processing streams exist to create language acquisition. Speech repetition occurs in the dorsal speech processing stream. This is responsible for mapping sound onto motor representation, otherwise known as speaking. The second cortical process stream is the ventral speech processing stream. It is the ventral stream that is responsible for mapping sound into meaning. The dorsal speech pathway connects the areas of the brain where the dorsal stream and the ventral stream are located. Mirror neurons are usually also introduced when speech repetition is discussed. These are neurons in the brain that fire when an animal acts and observes the same action in another. Therefore, mirror neurons provide a link between repetition and speech perception.

The act of copying the speech of another not only provides humans with the beginnings of language acquisition, but is also the basis for regional dialects, foreign accents, and intonation. Speech repetition is responsible for pitch, timbre, and emotion. It is through repetition that humans know how to deliver language in various forms, such as song, yelling and whispering. Speech repetition often precedes a human's ability to comprehend language and acquire the ability to communicate with others.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon991486 — On Jun 24, 2015

What is speech repetition ability technically called?

By healthy4life — On Jul 25, 2012

My sister had to memorize a poem written in medieval English for her literature class. I can still remember hearing her playing the tape of the man reading the poem as it was supposed to be read over and over as she attempted to memorize the piece.

I was only nine years old at the time, so the whole thing seemed funny to me. I didn't recognize many of the words, and I didn't see how she could possibly memorize something that didn't even sound like English.

She did, though. She would listen to a fragment of it, stop the tape, and repeat what she had heard. She did this for weeks, until the time came to recite it from memory in class, which she did flawlessly.

By Oceana — On Jul 25, 2012

I started memorizing song lyrics at a young age. My family always had the radio on, so I committed many songs to memory through speech repetition.

This provided entertainment for them, because I often heard the words wrong. I would sing the wrong lyrics with conviction, as naturally as if I had written them myself, and my sisters would crack up.

I often argued with them when they corrected me, because I was certain that I had heard what I had heard. It took awhile, but I was able to relearn the songs by repeating the right lyrics over and over. My sister would record the song on a cassette tape for me when it came on the radio, and I could play parts of it back as often as necessary.

By OeKc05 — On Jul 25, 2012

@feasting – I totally agree that speech repetition and the ability to learn to read and pronounce words correctly are linked. As long as both are presented in conjunction, then they can be very effective.

However, I know a man whose mother never read to him. He had a learning disability, and to this day, he has trouble pronouncing words when presented with them in written form.

He has no trouble repeating pronunciations that he has learned through vocal repetition, though. Unfortunately, his mother wasn't great at English, so she taught him the improper pronunciations of many words. Since he didn't have reading to fall back on, he learned purely through her speech repetition, and this made things hard for him in school, as well as in his adult life.

By feasting — On Jul 24, 2012

I recall having to sound out a lot of words syllable by syllable in first grade. Since my mother had already been reading to me for years, this came easily for me. I was puzzled that some of the other kids were having so much trouble with it.

The teachers knew that speech repetition was important, both for the sake of learning the correct pronunciation of words and for learning to read. They could tell who had already been practicing this at home and who had not had the opportunity.

My mother used to read me really simple picture books with one or two lines underneath each photo. Then, she would have me repeat the sentences back to her. I believe that is why I am such a good reader today.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.