Language and the Brain: Speech Mechanics Discovering

Brain and Language Production

Parts of brain

There are four parts of the brain, which are the Broca’s area, the Wernicke’s area, the areas known as “the motor cortex and the accurate fasciculus” (Yule, 2010, p. 139).

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Localization view

The ability of the human brain to correlate different aspects of language ability with specific locations in it can be defined as a localization view (Geschwind, 2970, p. 79). Therefore, when hearing a certain word, the human brain will follow a specific pattern of identifying, defining and pronouncing the word (Yule, 2010, p. 139).

Two types of aphasia

Defined as a disorder leading to the inability to relate the meaning of the word with its pronunciation (Yule, 2010, p. 142), aphasia is split into two types, i.e., Broca’s aphasia and Wernicke’s aphasia (Geschwind, 1970, p. 79). Broca’s aphasia is characterized by reduced speech, whereas Wernicke’s aphasia is defined by lack of logical coherence in speech (Yule, 2010, p. 142–143).

Critical period

Critical period is defined as the stage in a child’s development when the brain is capable of “receiving input” (Yule, 2010, p. 145) in vast amounts and acquiring language skills and the related information very fast and efficiently. Once the critical period passes, there will never be a way for a child to learn the language fully, as Genie’s case shows (Yule, 2010, p. 145).

Language production

Seeing how the Broca’s area is locate next to the motor cortex, which controls the muscles (Yule, 2010, p. 140), the neurons from the Broca’s area are sent to the motor areas of the larynx and tongue, thus, facilitating the speech process (Geschwind, 1970, p. 79).

Acquisition of Language Skills

The 1957 publication

Chomsky’s 1957 publication literally reinvented the field of linguistics, resulting in the creation of the transformational grammar (Moskowitz, 1978, p. 94). Chomsky studied the language from a physiological perspective, therefore, revealing the connection between grammar and language producing process (Moskowitz, 1978, p. 94).

Prerequisites of language

According to Moscowitz, there are several key language prerequisites, unceasing communication with others being the key one. It is imperative that the child should talk to family members; as Moscowitz stresses, television cannot perform the function of a language prerequisite (Moscowitz, 1978, p. 94).

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Correction of a child’s language

In the process of language acquisition, a child may have a wrong idea about a particular language pattern or words usage. Therefore, the need to correct the child’s language arises. Language skills can be corrected by creating the environment, in which the correct language patterns are reiterated on a regular basis (Moscowitz, 1978, p. 94B).

Telegraphic speech

After the two-word stage in a child development, children start producing short sentences. There is no three-word phase (Moscowitz, 1978, p. 96). – children have to learn to construct short sentences afterwards.

Acquisition of plurals

The process is split into six stages, i.e., the number determination, the use of irregular plurals, the inability to use plurals of words ending in –s or –z, handling the –s and –z endings, the training of irregular plurals and their efficient use (Moscovitz, , pp. 103–104).

Acquisition of semantics

The period of “rampant overgeneralization” (Moscovitz, 1978, p. 106) allows children to learn the meaning of words in a very fast manner. The overgeneralization often leads to misinterpretations of the word meaning. The process of meaning construction is hard to analyze due to the inability to determine the precise meaning that a child constructs of a specific word.

Acquisition of phonetics

Due to overgeneralization process, children tend to replace the sounds that they have not yet learned with the ones that they have been taught to use. According to Moscovitz, children do not learn sounds in an orderly fashion, but spot and use “distinctive features of a sound” (Moscovitz, 1978, p. 106A).

Reference List

Geschwind , N. (1970). The organization of language and the brain. Science, New Series, 170(3961), 79.

Moscowitz, B. A. (1978). The acquisition of language. Scientific American , 239(5), 92-108.

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Yule, G. (2010). The study of language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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