David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):1-21 (2000)
A new view of the functional role of the left anterior cortex in language use is proposed. The experimental record indicates that most human linguistic abilities are not localized in this region. In particular, most of syntax (long thought to be there) is not located in Broca's area and its vicinity (operculum, insula, and subjacent white matter). This cerebral region, implicated in Broca's aphasia, does have a role in syntactic processing, but a highly specific one: It is the neural home to receptive mechanisms involved in the computation of the relation between transformationally moved phrasal constituents and their extraction sites (in line with the Trace-Deletion Hypothesis). It is also involved in the construction of higher parts of the syntactic tree in speech production. By contrast, basic combinatorial capacities necessary for language processing – for example, structure-building operations, lexical insertion – are not supported by the neural tissue of this cerebral region, nor is lexical or combinatorial semantics. The dense body of empirical evidence supporting this restrictive view comes mainly from several angles on lesion studies of syntax in agrammatic Broca's aphasia. Five empirical arguments are presented: experiments in sentence comprehension, cross-linguistic considerations (where aphasia findings from several language types are pooled and scrutinized comparatively), grammaticality and plausibility judgments, real-time processing of complex sentences, and rehabilitation. Also discussed are recent results from functional neuroimaging and from structured observations on speech production of Broca's aphasics. Syntactic abilities are nonetheless distinct from other cognitive skills and are represented entirely and exclusively in the left cerebral hemisphere. Although more widespread in the left hemisphere than previously thought, they are clearly distinct from other human combinatorial and intellectual abilities. The neurological record (based on functional imaging, split-brain and right-hemisphere-damaged patients, as well as patients suffering from a breakdown of mathematical skills) indicates that language is a distinct, modularly organized neurological entity. Combinatorial aspects of the language faculty reside in the human left cerebral hemisphere, but only the transformational component (or algorithms that implement it in use) is located in and around Broca's area. Key Words: agrammatism; aphasia; Broca's area; cerebral localization; dyscalculia; functional neuroanatomy; grammatical transformation; modularity; neuroimaging; syntax; trace deletion.
|Keywords||agrammatism aphasia Broca's area cerebral localization dyscalculia functional neuroanatomy grammatical transformation modularity neuroimaging syntax trace deletion|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
John Collins (2011). Impossible Words Again: Or Why Beds Break but Not Make. Mind and Language 26 (2):234-260.
Pauli Brattico & Lassi Liikkanen (2009). Rethinking the Cartesian Theory of Linguistic Productivity. Philosophical Psychology 22 (3):251-279.
Annette Karmiloff-Smith (2006). Ontogeny, Genetics, and Evolution: A Perspective From Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Biological Theory 1 (1):44-51.
Angela D. Friederici (2012). The Cortical Language Circuit: From Auditory Perception to Sentence Comprehension. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 16 (5):262-268.
Elisa Schneider, Masaki Maruyama, Stanislas Dehaene & Mariano Sigman (2012). Eye Gaze Reveals a Fast, Parallel Extraction of the Syntax of Arithmetic Formulas. Cognition 125 (3):475-490.
Similar books and articles
Alan A. Beaton (2003). Going for Broca? I Wouldn't Bet on It! Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (2):212-213.
Claudio Luzzatti & Maria Teresa Guasti (2000). Agrammatism, Syntactic Theory, and the Lexicon: Broca's Area and the Development of Linguistic Ability in the Human Brain. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):41-42.
Frederic Dick & Elizabeth Bates (2000). Grodzinsky's Latest Stand – or, Just How Specific Are “Lesion-Specific” Deficits? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):29-29.
Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy (2000). Broca's Area and Language Evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):28-29.
Rita Sloan Berndt (2000). Sentence Comprehension in Broca's Aphasia: A Critique of the Evidence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):24-24.
Yosef Grodzinsky (2000). The Trace Deletion Hypothesis and the Tree-Pruning Hypothesis: Still Valid Characterizations of Broca's Aphasia. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):55-64.
Willem J. M. Levelt (2000). The Brain Does Not Serve Linguistic Theory so Easily. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):40-41.
Fred H. Previc (2000). From Broca's Aphasia to the Language Module: A Transformation Too Large? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):49-50.
Stefano F. Cappa, Andrea Moro, Daniela Perani & Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini (2000). Broca's Aphasia, Broca's Area, and Syntax: A Complex Relationship. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):27-28.
Nina F. Dronkers (2000). The Gratuitous Relationship Between Broca's Aphasia and Broca's Area. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (1):30-31.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads28 ( #68,133 of 1,140,268 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #142,694 of 1,140,268 )
How can I increase my downloads?