Language and Brain Connection


Do you know that a part of the brain is responsible for your Language and Speech Areas?

Lateralization of the brain:

In human beings, it is the left hemisphere that usually contains the specialized language areas.

While this holds true for 97% of right-handed people, about 19% of left-handed people have their language areas in the right hemisphere and as many as 68% of them have some  language abilities in both the left and the right hemispheres.


Broca (1861):

The first language area within the left hemisphere to be discovered is called Broca’s Area, after Paul Broca. Broca was a French neurologist who had a patient with severe language problems: Although he could understand the speech of others with little difficulty, the only word he could produce was “tan.” After the patient died, Broca performed an autopsy, and discovered that an area of the frontal lobe, had been seriously damaged. He correctly hypothesized that this area was responsible for speech
Wernicke (1876):

The second language area to be discovered is called Wernicke’s Area, after Carl Wernicke, a German neurologist. Wernicke had a
patient who could speak quite well, but was unable to understand the speech of others. After the patient’s death, Wernicke performed an autopsy and found damage to an area at the upper portion of the temporal lobe, just behind the auditory cortex. He correctly hypothesized that this area was responsible for speech comprehension.


How the two Areas Work together:
Broca’s area processes the information received from Wernicke’s area into a detailed and coordinated pattern for vocalization and then projects the pattern via a speech articulation area in the insula to the motor cortex, which initiates the appropriate movements of the lips, tongue, and larynx to produce speech. The angular gyrus behind Wernicke’s area appears to process information from words that are read in such away that they can be converted into the auditory forms of the words in Wernicke’s area.


How these  areas of the brain  play  critical roles  in speech and language.

Broca’s Area

Broca’s area, located in the left hemisphere, is associated with speech production and articulation. Our ability to articulate ideas, as well as use words accurately in spoken and written language, has been attributed to this crucial area.

Wernicke’s Area

This critical language area in the posterior superior temporal lobe connects to Broca’s area via a neural pathway. Wernicke’s area is primarily involved in the comprehension. Historically, this area has been associated with language processing, whether it is written or spoken.

Angular Gyrus

The angular gyrus allows us to associate multiple types of language-related information whether auditory, visual or sensory. It is located in close proximity to other critical brain regions such as the parietal lobe which processes tactile sensation, the occipital lobe which is involved in visual analyses and the temporal lobe which processes sounds. The angular gyrus allows us to associate a perceived word with different images, sensations and ideas.

references:  Boeree, C. G. (2004). Speech and the brain.


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