A neural correlate of syntactic encoding during speech production
Number of pages
SourceProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 98, 10, (2001), pp. 5933-5936
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Neurobiology of Language
SW OZ DCC CO
F.C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA
Spoken language is one of the most compact and structured ways to convey information. The linguistic ability to structure individual words into larger sentence units permits speakers to express a nearly unlimited range of meanings. This ability is rooted in speakers' knowledge of syntax and in the corresponding process of syntactic encoding. Syntactic encoding is highly automatized, operates largely outside of conscious awareness, and overlaps closely in time with several other processes of language production. With the use of positron emission tomography we investigated the cortical activations during spoken language production that are related to the syntactic encoding process. In the paradigm of restrictive scene description, utterances varying in complexity of syntactic encoding were elicited. Results provided evidence that the left Rolandic operculum, caudally adjacent to Broca's area, is involved in both sentence-level and local (phrase-level) syntactic encoding during speaking.
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