In this Book

summary

Language makes us human. It is an intrinsic part of us, although we seldom think about it. Language is also an extremely complex entity with subcomponents responsible for its phonological, syntactic, and semantic aspects. In this landmark work, Angela Friederici offers a comprehensive account of these subcomponents and how they are integrated. Tracing the neurobiological basis of language across brain regions in humans and other primate species, she argues that species-specific brain differences may be at the root of the human capacity for language.

Friederici shows which brain regions support the different language processes and, more important, how these brain regions are connected structurally and functionally to make language processes that take place in milliseconds possible. She finds that one particular brain structure (a white matter dorsal tract), connecting syntax-relevant brain regions, is present only in the mature human brain and only weakly present in other primate brains. Is this the "missing link" that explains humans' capacity for language?

Friederici describes the basic language functions and their brain basis; the language networks connecting different language-related brain regions; the brain basis of language acquisition during early childhood and when learning a second language, proposing a neurocognitive model of the ontogeny of language; and the evolution of language and underlying neural constraints. She finds that it is the information exchange between the relevant brain regions, supported by the white matter tract, that is the crucial factor in both language development and evolution.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Half Title, Title Page, Copyright, Epigram
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Foreword
  2. Noam Chomsky
  3. pp. ix-x
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiii-xiv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-12
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  1. Part I
  2. pp. 13-14
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  1. 1. Language Functions in the Brain: From Auditory Input to Sentence Comprehension
  2. pp. 15-84
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  1. 2. Excursions
  2. pp. 85-100
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  1. Part II
  2. pp. 101-102
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  1. 3. The Structural Language Network
  2. pp. 103-120
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  1. 4. The Functional Language Network
  2. pp. 121-142
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  1. Part III
  2. pp. 143-144
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  1. 5. The Brain’s Critical Period for Language Acquisition
  2. pp. 145-162
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  1. 6. Ontogeny of the Neural Language Network
  2. pp. 163-200
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  1. Part IV
  2. pp. 201-202
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  1. 7. Evolution of Language
  2. pp. 203-220
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  1. 8. The Neural Basis of Language
  2. pp. 221-232
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  1. Glossary
  2. pp. 233-240
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 241-244
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  1. References
  2. pp. 245-280
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 281-284
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780262342964
Related ISBN
9780262036924
MARC Record
OCLC
1011673695
Pages
304
Launched on MUSE
2017-12-06
Language
English
Open Access
No
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