Guide to Neurolinguistics: What It Is and Recent Developments

Neurolinguistics is the study of how the brain processes language, which can be defined as a communication system shared between people. It combines aspects of neuroscience and linguistics to explore how language is acquired, used, and processed by the brain. Neurolinguistics allows us to understand the biological basis of language, enabling us to better understand the interaction between the brain and language. It can also be used to explain various language-related disorders, such as aphasia or stuttering. In this blog post, we will explore the history of neurolinguistics, its current applications, and its implications for the future. We will take a look at the research that has been conducted and the findings that have been made, as well as the potential for new discoveries. We will also discuss the ethical considerations that arise when studying language from a neurological perspective.

Neurolinguistics / The language and the brain

Where is language activity located in the brain?

Many areas of the brain have language functions, and the brain stores information in brain cells to carry out its functions. Neural networks link brain cells together and transmit information to different regions of the brain that regulate various functions like walking, talking, and writing.

Depending on how they are used, the brain’s neural networks may be strong or weak. A person’s neural pathways that are used more frequently are probably stronger than those that are used infrequently. People can develop new neural pathways as they learn new information. For instance, bilingual individuals have unique neural pathways for each language they are able to speak. One only uses the pathway for that language when speaking in that language.

What is neurolinguistics?

The study of what language is and how the brain interprets it is known as neurolinguistics. The goal of neurolinguistic research is to comprehend how the brain converts sounds or symbols into verbal and written language that can be understood. Studying how the brain acquires, retains, and recalls language information is another aspect of the field.

A different branch of neurolinguistics investigates how people use language knowledge to express themselves verbally or in writing. For instance, if someone is fluent in several languages, they can usually switch between them. To better understand a bilingual person’s linguistic abilities, neurolinguists may try to understand the inner workings of their mind.

Treatment for aphasia

It is possible for those with aphasia, including those who have brain damage, to regain some lost language abilities or to enhance current language abilities. For example, speech therapy can often help those with aphasia. Through language-based activities, this type of therapy aims to aid someone in regaining their ability to speak. Over time, they may repair or reengage damaged neural pathways. Speech therapy may also help their language processing functions return.

What is aphasia?

Language loss or partial language loss caused by brain injury or damage is known as aphasia. Aphasia can present in various ways, impairing various aspects of a person’s capacity to process language. Some aphasias affect a person’s capacity to comprehend what they read or hear when others speak to them. The ability of a person to communicate with others may be impacted by additional types of aphasia.

Here are the three kinds of aphasia:

1. Expressive

This type of aphasia affects people who understand language but have trouble communicating. They are able to hear what others are saying, process what they hear, and comprehend it, but they may find it difficult to speak. Additionally, they might be literate but struggle with writing. People who have this kind of aphasia frequently speak in brief, improperly grammatized sentences.

For instance, someone with expressive aphasia might say “go store” rather than “I want to go to the store.” “However, the listener can occasionally comprehend what the person with aphasia is trying to say.

2. Comprehensive

This type of aphasia involves understanding language. Comprehensive aphasia makes it difficult for a person to comprehend what others are saying to them. In a conversation, the other person is unlikely to understand you, and you might have trouble hearing them when they speak. People with comprehensive aphasia, as opposed to those with the expressive form, can speak in lengthy sentences that are frequently difficult for others to understand. The person who has this type of aphasia can speak, but they typically have trouble understanding language.

3. Global

Those who suffer from this kind of aphasia frequently struggle with language comprehension and expression. They also struggle to speak in complete sentences and have trouble forming words. Global aphasia typically occurs after significant brain damage and denotes serious impairment.

How has neurolinguistics changed recently?

Before the 1990s, most neurolinguistics researchers focused on aphasic patients. Scientists believed that if a person suffered brain damage to a specific region of the brain and lost some of their capacity for language comprehension or communication, that region of the brain was in charge of that aspect of language.

This led to the idea that the Brocas and Wernickes areas of the left hemisphere of the brain were primarily responsible for language function. Pierre Paul Broca identified the Brocas area as a region of the frontal lobe that facilitates language comprehension. Carl Wernicke, a neurologist, discovered that Wernicke’s region is involved in language production.

With time, technological advancements have made it possible for researchers to learn more about how people’s brains normally process language. The outcome is a better comprehension of how language is processed by brains. It is now thought that language processing is more complicated and involves several brain areas that use various areas for a variety of information related to language.

Example of neurolinguistics

Here’s an illustration of how the brain functions in accordance with modern neurolinguistics:

A person reads the word “carrot” in a book. Immediately, their brain recalls the meaning of the word. Additionally, their brain also recalls the flavor, texture, and aroma of a carrot. The individual also recalls that they enjoy eating carrots and that they have memories of and visions of carrots. In other words, in addition to processing the word “carrot,” the person’s brain also connects it to their personal experiences involving carrots.


What is the purpose of neurolinguistics?

The study of how language is represented in the brain, including how and where our knowledge of the language (or languages) that we speak, understand, read, and write is stored, what happens in our brains as we learn this knowledge, and what happens as we apply it in daily life, is known as neurolinguistics.

What is Neuropsycholinguistics?

The overall rank of Journal of Neurolinguistics is 7415. This journal is ranked zero by SCImago Journal Rank (SJR). 655.

What is Neuro-Linguistic Programming and how does it work?

The field of linguistics known as neurolinguistics examines the principles of language structure in order to analyze the language deficits that result from brain damage.

How can I learn neurolinguistics?

The study of the neural bases and mental structures in the human brain that govern language comprehension, production, and acquisition is known as neuro-psycholinguistics.

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