Neural level influencing functional descriptions

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Thu Sep 17 23:36:48 EST 1998


Thanks for the interesting comments, examples, etc.

re right hemisphere and prosody: there is a fair amount of agreement on
a role of the right hemisphere in "emotional" prosody,  but of the left
hemisphere in "syntactic" or "linguistic" prosody--examples of the
latter being giving proper emphasis to contrast alternatives, etc. (as
in "the child ate the bread but DRANK the milk"), differentiating
statements from questions, etc.

However, Van Lancker and (perhaps, not sure of co-author) Ross have
found both left and right hemisphere lesions impair comprehension of
emotional prosody, but for different reasons--i.e. differing in the
kinds of cues they are sensitive to .

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
New York Neuropsychology Group


In <36008502.52EA846F at logicworld.com.au> John Hasenkam
<johnhkm at logicworld.com.au> writes: 
>
>F. Frank LeFever wrote:
>> 
>> The bilingual aphasia studies: examples of alternating aphasias, in
>> which deficits were worse in one language, then better in that
language
>> but worse in the other (rather thn better recovery in one or
different
>> rates of recovery)--Michel Paradis (Montreal, I believe) helped
devise
>> a collection of balanced two-language pairs of tests to enable
>> comparisons between languages in assessing bilingual aphasics and
>> reported such cases.
>> 
>> I'll also add the personal observation that bilingual friends
returning
>> from a visit in their native country  (and/or in phone calls during
the
>> visit) seemed to show a transient deterioration in their English
>> ability.
>
> Inhibition: interesting story by Roger Penrose, mathematical
physicist,
>similiar to tale by French mathematician Hadamard: When thinking about
>mathematics, if asked a question, they can conceive the answer but
seem
>incapable of finding the words for it. Penrose speculates that it is
as
>if his language capacities had been turned off while doing his
>mathematics. The gap is only a few seconds, but Penrose identifies
this
>as something quite unusual in his thinking, not like 'being lost for
>words', but being momentarily asphasic.
>
>
>> In other words, I suggest that these nearby but different language
>> circuits might be mutually inhibitory, making rapid sucession
>> alternation difficult.  (How simultaneous translaters manage it, I
>> don't know!)
>
>Terrance Deacon, in, The Symbolic Species, has come up with an
>interesting idea regarding simultaneous translaters. Apparently they
>prefer a specific listening ear (right or left) and this suggests some
>lateralisation of functions, probably so as to avoid neural confusion
>(whatever). 
>
>Deacon puts forward an argument that the right hemisphere is involved
in
>the prosodic and timing elements of language, the left largely devoted
>to motor and grammatical production. He believes language functions
are
>mapped onto pre-existing neural structures and moves away (not
entirely)
>from the idea of specific language centers in the brain. Interesting
>text which the author of this thread may find interesting. 
>
>There is evidence for some degree of language processing in the right,
>(Gardner 1973 on metaphors and laughter, semantic paralexis?). Given
the
>dominating influence of language on our thinking I would be surprised
if
>all the required processing occurred in only one hemisphere, but a
>definite bias exists. I have enough trouble with English.
>
>
>
>John Hasenkam
>johnhkm at logicworld.com.au




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