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Language and the Brain

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Paloma Valencia Castro

on 26 April 2014

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Transcript of Language and the Brain


Language and the Brain
Neurolinguistics
Language areas in the brain
The most important parts are in the areas above the left ear.
Tongue Tips and Slips
Aphasia
It is an impairment of language function due to localized brain damage that leads to difficulty in understanding and/or producing linguistic forms.
Dichotic listening
It is the dominance of the left hemisphere for syllable and word procesing.
The Critical Period
The lateralization process begins in early childhood. It coincides with the period during which language acquisition takes place. During childhood, there is a period when human brain is most ready to receive input and learn a particular language.
The study of the location of language in the brain.
Broca's Area
It is technically described as the "anterior speech cortex".
Damage to this specific part of the brain was related to extreme difficulty in producing speech.
Wernicke's Area
It is called the "posterior speech cortex".
Damage to this part of the brain was found among patients who had speech comprehension difficulties.
Wernicke's are is part of the brain crucially involved in the understanding of speech.
Study Question
What is a more common name for the posterior speech cortex?
The Motor Cortex
This area generally controls movement of the muscles.
This area is involved in the physical articulation of speech.
The Arcuate Fasciculus
It is a bundle of nerve fibres.
It form a crucial conection between Wernicke's and Broca's areas.
The Localization View
Specific aspects of language ability can be accorded specific locations in the brain.
It has been used to suggest that the brain activity involved in hearing a word, understanding it, then saying it, would follow a definite pattern.
Wernicke's area
Arcuate Fasciculus
Broca's area
Motor Cortex
Word physically articulated
The tip of the tongue phenomenon
We have a phonological idea of the word, of the initial sound or the number of syllables, but the word just won't come to the surface.
This happens because our word-storage is based on sounds.
Malapropisms: it consists on producing consistently "near-misses" for words.
Study Question
Is the use of "fire distinguisher" instead of "fire extinguisher" a spoonerism or a malapropism?
Slips of the tongue
It is a speech error that produces expresions such as
make a long shory stort, use the door to open the key...
spoonerisms: most of the slips involve the interchange of two initial sounds.
Most everyday slips of the tongue are often simply the result of a sound being carried over from one word to the next, or a sound used in one word in anticipation of its occurrence in the next word.
Slips of this type are never random, they never produce a phonologically unacceptable sequence, and that they indicate the existence of different stages in the articulation of linguistic expressions.
Although the slips are mostly treated as errors of articulation, it has been suggested that they may result from "slips of the brain" as it tries to organize linguistic messages.
Slips of the ear
It is a misunderstanding of what it is said, like hearing
great ape
when the speaker actually said
gray tape
.
Some malapropisms may originate as slips of the ear
Study Question
What is aphasia?
Broca's aphasia
It is a serious language disorder, characterized by a substantially reduced amount of speech, distorted articulation and slow, often effortful speech. What is said often consists almost entirely of lexical morphemes.
agrammatic speech.
This type of disorder can be quite severe and result in speech with lots of hesitations and really long pauses. Some patients can also have lots of difficulty in articulating single words.
Comprehension is much better than production
Study Question
Which type of aphasia is characterized by speech like this:
speech... two times... read...wr...ripe, er, rike, er, write...
?
Wernicke's aphasia
This type of language disorder results in difficulties in auditory comprehension. Someone suffering from this disorder can actually produce very fluent speech which is, however, often difficult to make sense of. Very general terms are used.
anomia: difficulty in finding the correct word.
Conduction aphasia
This is much less common.
This type has been associated with damage to the arcuate fasciculus. Individuals suffering from this disorder sometimes mispronounce words, but typically do not have articulation problems. They are fluent, but may have disrupted rythm because of pauses and hesitations.
Comprehension of spoken words is normally good. What the speaker hears and understands can't be transferred very succesfully to the speech production area.
Many of these symptoms can occur in all types of aphasia.
Difficulties in speaking can also be accompanied by difficulties in writing.
Left
Right
Experience
Experience
Brain
processing of experience
Right ear advantage for linguistic sounds.
The right hemisphere is first choice for non-language sounds and the left hemisphere specializes in language sounds.
Study Question
What happens in a dichotic listening test?
The critical period for first language acquisition lasts from birth until puberty. If a child does not acquire language during this period, for any one of a number reasons, then he or she will find it almost impossible to learn language later on.
Study Question
What is the critical period?
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