Broca's area

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Sat Jun 20 15:12:59 EST 1998


You are addressing a very interesting, complex, and difficult issue.

I missed the article you site, but will check it out.  I will be
interested to see whether Ojemann's findings are addressed.  By direct
cortical stimulation in candidates for surgery (I believe primarily
this; possibly some recording also), he came to the conclusion that
different languages were GROSSLY in the same cortical areas, but within
different circuits within thes areas.

Note that I say it in the plural: areas.  I believe this particular
work by Ojemann involved the posterior language areas, i.e. so-called
Wernicke's area. (Even here there may be subdivisions and
supperficially "repeated" maps, as has been found for somatosensory,
visual. and auditory modalities; repetition only superficial because
different information represented, reflecting different processing in
parallel streams from the primary input).  He has also done some
language-related work in the thalamus that I know of; I would guess
Broca's as well, but don't know for sure.

I have often suggested that this (co-existence in roughly the same
cortical area) provides a basis for mutual interference, as is seen in
many other systems (cf. lateral inhibition in the retina, perhaps the
starting point for this line of analysis??).

Naturalistically, interference seems evident to me when a Russian
friend of mine shows much diminished English ability immediately after
a week or so re-immersion in Russian (e.g. on return visit to Russia).

More importantly, there is suggestive clinical evidence in the
phenomenon of "alternating aphasia"--a bilingual aphasic having more
trouble in one language for a few weeks, and then more trouble in the
other one.   It's killing me that I can't recall the name of the
resercher in this area just now--a Canadian who helped develop
bilingual, or (more properly) matched pairs of tests in various
languages (e.g. French vs. German, English vs. Spanish, etc., etc.) to
assess which language is more impaired  in bilingual aphasics.

Another consideeration re "different areas": there is also the idea
that the right hemisphere may be more involved at the level of initial
learning of a new language, mimicry, etc., but eventual consolidation
in the left hemisphere when well-learned and routine.

F. Frank LeFever
New York Neuropsychology Group











In <358ABE0C.1898FFFE at post.rwth-aachen.de> Harald Teepe
<Harald.Teepe at post.rwth-aachen.de> writes: 
>
>
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>Referring to
>
>Kim, Karl H. S. et al.: Distinct cortical areas associated with native
>and
>second languages. In: Nature. Vol. 388, 10 July 1997.
>
>which conclusion might one draw concerning language interference
>phenomena? Comparing the results of topographic specialization within
>multilingual subjects, i.e. "early bilinguals" with "late bilinguals",
>who
>might profit of language interference? Is there any relevance
concerning
>
>didactics - especially second language acquisition? The article only
>treats persons who speak two languages. Looking at persons who
>speak three or four different languages of which one language can be
>regarded as the mother tongue and the other three as 'late' acquired,
>will there be an appropriate number of different areas in the Broca's
>area each relating to one of the other languages? In other words, will
>there be four distinct areas each representing a language? Finally I
>would like to know to what degree these distinct areas contain infor-
>mation on different languages (Are there other areas which store
>additional language information? / Can one separate grammar from
>vocabulary?).
>
>If you have an idea on one of my questions please let me know. If
>possible please include the article/book/etc. you refer to.
>
>H. Teepe
>
>
>
>--------------33D3F5C9B7246C0B9651E1F8
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>Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
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><HTML>
>Referring to
>
><P>Kim, Karl H. S. et al.: <U>Distinct cortical areas associated with
native
>and</U>
><BR><U>second languages</U>. In: <U>Nature</U>. Vol. 388, 10 July
1997.
>
><P>which conclusion might one draw concerning language interference
><BR>phenomena? Comparing the results of topographic specialization
within
><BR>multilingual subjects, i.e. "early bilinguals" with "late
bilinguals",
>who
><BR>might profit of language interference? Is there any relevance
concerning
><BR>didactics - especially second language acquisition? The article
only
><BR>treats persons who speak two languages. Looking at persons who
><BR>speak three or four different languages of which one language can
be
><BR>regarded as the mother tongue and the other three as 'late'
acquired,
><BR>will there be an appropriate number of different areas in the
Broca's
><BR>area each relating to one of the other languages? In other words,
will
><BR>there be four distinct areas each representing a language? Finally
>I
><BR>would like to know to what degree these distinct areas contain
infor-
><BR>mation on different languages (Are there other areas which store
><BR>additional language information? / Can one separate grammar from
><BR>vocabulary?).
>
><P>If you have an idea on one of my questions please let me know. If
><BR>possible please include the article/book/etc. you refer to.
>
><P>H. Teepe
><BR>&nbsp;
><BR>&nbsp;</HTML>
>
>--------------33D3F5C9B7246C0B9651E1F8--
>




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