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Language in Our BrainThe Origins of a Uniquely Human Capacity$
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Angela D. Friederici

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036924

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036924.001.0001

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Language Functions in the Brain: From Auditory Input to Sentence Comprehension

Language Functions in the Brain: From Auditory Input to Sentence Comprehension

(p.15) 1 Language Functions in the Brain: From Auditory Input to Sentence Comprehension
Language in Our Brain

Angela D. Friederici

Noam Chomsky

The MIT Press

Chapter 1 presents the neurocognitive model of language comprehension with its functional processing components and processing steps from auditory input to comprehension. The different functional components in the model are described with respect to their brain location and their time course. Topics covered include the identification of language-relevant sounds in speech input; the role of the temporal gyri together with the medial temporal lobe and the hippocampus in access to the lexicon and information encoded in the lexical entry; the combinatorics of language elements; neuroscientific studies relevant for the initial phrase structure building as assumed by syntax-first models; syntactic computation and the processing of syntactically complex sentences; the network of brain regions that support semantic processes; thematic role assignment (i.e., “who is doing what to whom”); and linguistic prosody and the processing of pitch information. Finally, the chapter concludes with a coherent view and respective model of the brain basis of language comprehension, with respect to the neuroanatomy of the brain regions supporting syntactic, semantic, and syntactic processes as well as the temporal relation and interaction of these different functions as comprehension proceeds.

Keywords:   neurocognition, language comprehension, semantic processes, syntactic computation, temporal cortex, Broca’s area

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