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Physiol Rev. 2011 Oct;91(4):1357-92. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00006.2011.

The brain basis of language processing: from structure to function.

Author information

1
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany. angelafr@cbs.mpg.de

Abstract

Language processing is a trait of human species. The knowledge about its neurobiological basis has been increased considerably over the past decades. Different brain regions in the left and right hemisphere have been identified to support particular language functions. Networks involving the temporal cortex and the inferior frontal cortex with a clear left lateralization were shown to support syntactic processes, whereas less lateralized temporo-frontal networks subserve semantic processes. These networks have been substantiated both by functional as well as by structural connectivity data. Electrophysiological measures indicate that within these networks syntactic processes of local structure building precede the assignment of grammatical and semantic relations in a sentence. Suprasegmental prosodic information overtly available in the acoustic language input is processed predominantly in a temporo-frontal network in the right hemisphere associated with a clear electrophysiological marker. Studies with patients suffering from lesions in the corpus callosum reveal that the posterior portion of this structure plays a crucial role in the interaction of syntactic and prosodic information during language processing.

PMID:
22013214
DOI:
10.1152/physrev.00006.2011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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