Motor-mouth theory: The case for a REM dream type as probes for motor maintenance of articulation

  • Ken Arenson (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


The origin of a common type of dream, here named the “Holophrastic Linguistic Dream type” (HLD-type), is considered. In the Motor-mouth theory presented, these dreams are run by the brainstem for motor maintenance of articulation, a motor activity required for efficacious speech, to give each tested word a stable phonology in use. The theory rests on a proposal that motor maintenance (mm) functions have always been the physiological purpose of REM-state sleep (RSS). Did HLD-type dreams begin when speech began? Our written record of HLD-type dreams extends back only to the beginning of writing. The idea of this role for them arose out of the two fundamental observables in every collection of HLD-type dreams, including mine: 1. Holophrastic is best used in the report of the HLD-type dream. 2. Using holophrasis, the dream report puns a true context. (The true context refers to puns among the words or speech sounds in the report, which relate to the dreamer’s concerns at the time.) The RSS function occurs very broadly among biota on earth. It is very old, perhaps hundreds of millions of years old. In H. sapiens, specific Brainstem Region Circuits (BRC) will run this form of sleep, the RSS. The BRC will include the medulla oblongata, which apparently controls Cranial Nerve XII, the hypoglossal nerve that innervates the crucial tongue muscles needed for speech. When meaningful calls and words originate in any species using RSS, a new motor function also must begin – articulation, and it must be maintained by a new mm function. For a narrative hook to hang my theory on, the essay imagines the beginning of word-use in an archaic Homo species, some 2 million years ago. That new mm function was quickly implemented for nightly testing by the BRC, which adapted a test by initiating dreams: the HLD-type.


English; French; Hebrew
Motor-mouth theory;, REM-state sleep (RSS);, RSS runs motor maintenance from the medulla;, holophrastic linguistic dream type (HLD-type dreams);, HLD-type dreams may be medullar probes of articulation via Cranial Nerve XII and tongue innervation;
How to Cite
Arenson , K. (2022). Motor-mouth theory: The case for a REM dream type as probes for motor maintenance of articulation. International Journal of Dream Research, 15(1), 149–170.