NeurolinguisticsJoel E. Acosta March, 27th 2012
Agenda:1. Definition: What is Neurolinguistics about?2. History3. Aphasia and Dyslexia4. Human Brain Organization5. Where is the language in the brain?6. Linguistic Components and Neurolinguistics
1. What is Neurolinguistics about? Neurolinguistics is the study of the neural mechanisms in the human brain that control the comprehension, production, and acquisition of language.Neurolinguistics is a branch of linguisticsdealing mainly with the biological basis of therelationship of the human language and brain.
2. HistoryNeurolinguistics is historically rooted in the development in the19th century of aphasiology, the study of linguistic deficits(aphasias) occurring as the result of brain damage.One of the first people to draw a connection between aparticular brain area and language processing was Paul Broca,a French surgeon who conducted autopsies on numerousindividuals who had speaking deficiencies, and found that mostof them had brain damage (or lesions) on the left frontal lobe
Brocas research was possibly the first to offer empirical evidence forsuch a relationship, and has been described as "epoch-making” and"pivotal” to the fields of neurolinguistics and cognitive science.Later, Carl Wernicke, after whom Wernickes area is named,proposed that different areas of the brain were specialized fordifferent linguistic tasks, with Brocas area handling the motorproduction of speech, and Wernickes area handling auditory speechcomprehension.
The work of Broca and Wernicke established the field of aphasiology andthe idea that language can be studied through examining physicalcharacteristics of the brain.Early work in aphasiology also benefited from the early twentieth-centurywork of Korbinian Brodmann, who "mapped" the surface of the brain, dividingit up into numbered areas based on each areas cytoarchitecture (cellstructure) and function; these areas, known as Brodmann areas, are stillwidely used in neuroscience today.
The coining of the term "neurolinguistics" has been attributed toHarry Whitaker, who founded the Journal of Neurolinguistics in1985.
3. Aphasia and DyslexiaAphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a personsability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasiaimpairs the ability to speak and understand others, and most people withaphasia experience difficulty reading and writing.
Dyslexia is an inherited language-based learning disability caused by aneurologically-based disorder. Dyslexia can interfere with a personsability to process language. This difficulty with language skills would beemphasized mostly in reading, pronouncing words, writing, spelling,handwriting and sometimes arithmetic within a persons life. This oftenoccurs due to problems in phonological processing, expressivelanguage, and receptive language.
4. Human Brain OrganizationThe organization of your brain issimilar to other people because wealmost all move, hear, and see, andso on in essentially the same way.But our individual experiences andtraining also affect the organizationof our brains—for example, deafpeople understand sign languageusing just about the same parts oftheir brains that hearing people dofor spoken language.
5. Where is the language in the brain?We cant say that all of language is in a particular part of the brain; itsnot even true that a particular word is in just one spot in a persons brain.But we can say that listening, understanding, talking, and reading eachinvolve activities in certain parts of the brain much more than other parts.
Most of these parts are in the left side of your brain, the left hemisphere,regardless of what language you read and how it is written. We know thisbecause aphasia (language loss due to brain damage) is almost alwaysdue to left hemisphere injury in people who speak and read Hebrew,English, Chinese, or Japanese, and also in people who are illiterate. Butareas in the right side are essential for communicating effectively and forunderstanding the point of what people are saying. If you are bilingual,your right hemisphere may be somewhat more involved in your secondlanguage than it is in your first language.
6. Linguistic Components and Neurolinguistics Linguistic Relationship between the component and the DescriptionComponents Neurolinguistics how the brain extracts speech sounds from an acoustic signal,Phonetics the study of speech sounds how the brain separates speech sounds from background noise the study of how sounds are how the phonological system of a particular language isPhonology organized in a language represented in the brain the study of how words areMorphology structured and stored in the how the brain stores and accesses words that a person knowsand lexicology mental lexicon the study of how multiple-Syntax word utterances are constructed how the brain combines words into constituents and sentences; how structural and semantic information is used in the study of how meaning is understanding sentencesSemantics encoded in language
7. Practice1. Work in pairs2. Answer the following questions: a. What is Neurolinguistics? b. Are all human brians organized in the same way? Try to explain it? c. Where is the language in the brain?3. Complete the following chart4. After work in pairs share our ideas about.
Linguistic Relationship between the component and the DescriptionComponents NeurolinguisticsPhoneticsPhonologyMorphologyand lexicologySyntaxSemantics