Areas of the brain specialized in language: its location and functions

Brain processes play a very important role in regulating our daily activities. More precisely, there is various areas of the brain responsible for organizing language skills and activities that are necessary to communicate to us.

Three of the most studied areas in relation to the tongue are the drilling area, the Wernicke area and the angular gyrus. Here’s what each is and how brain and language are related.

    The brain and the tongue

    One of the topics that attracted the most specialists and non-specialists in neuroscience and cognitive science was how the human brain regulates linguistic and communicative activity.

    Obviously, as it happens in all the activities that we do, so that language and communication occur brain participation is necessary. But this participation does not happen without a specific order, it follows a series of patterns depending on the action.

    In other words, at the level of the brain, language is a process that follows a number of regulatory patterns that have been localized in different areas. Neurologist Antonio Damasio (cited by Per Castaño, 2003) tells us that there are three main systems responsible for this. One of the systems is instrumental (in charge of execution), another is semantic (in charge of coding) and the other is an intermediate system that serves to be part of the two previous ones.

      Areas of the brain specialized in language

      Each of the brain systems responsible for regulating language acts through the activity of different areas of the brain. Three of the most important zones are the drilling zone, the Wernicke zone and the angular convolution.

      1. Drill area

      The Broca region is part of the instrumental system of the language. The drilling area is linked to the capacity of Order phonemes to create words then sentences. This is why it is also related to the use of verbs and other words necessary to interact. When this area is damaged, a syntactic difficulty (relating to the order, combination and relationship between words) is also presented.

      The region of Broca is called the person who began his study (Paul Broca) in 1861. He analyzed the brain of a person who had great difficulty in expressing himself verbally, when his understanding of language was apparently functional. He found a tumor in part of the left cerebral hemisphere and named the clinical picture as “afemia”. From then on, this area of ​​the left cerebral hemisphere is known as the Broca i area it is linked to disorders of the expressive faculty of verbal language, For example, “Broca’s aphasia”.

        2. Wernicke region

        The Wernicke region is also part of the instrumental language system. It helps to evoke and vocalize concepts, and is also responsible for processing sounds for combine them by creating units capable of meaning.

        It is not directly in charge of regulating semantic activity (that of giving meaning to linguistic expressions), but of decoding phonemes. However, when there is lesion in this area of ​​the brain, producing difficulties in discriminating and processing sound, the semantic field is affected.

        The regions that make up this area are linked to two other areas of the brain, responsible for regulating motor and premotor activity. The Wernicke zone and the areas of motor activity are connected via a direct corticocortical pathway and a corticocortical pathway. The first way is the one that regulates associative learning in a more conscious and voluntary dimension; and the second is related to automatic behaviors such as habits.

        This area is located in the left hemisphere of the brain, around Silvio’s cleft and next to the insula cortex. It has been studied since the mid-19th century (so there are several proposals for its location) and was named in honor of neurologist Carl Wernicke.

          3. Angular convolution

          The brain is covered with many folds or reliefs which have very important functions and are not yet fully understood. These folds or reliefs are called convolutions.

          One of the convolutions involved in the regulation of language is angular convolution, also known as angular rotation or Broadmann zone 39 (AB39). In addition to language, this domain participates in the activity of episodic and semantic memory, math skills, literacy and spatial attention.

          Injuries in this area have been linked to semantic aphasia. Due to its relationship with the activity of language comprehension and communication, many scientists consider this convolution to be an extension or part of the Wernicke region.

          Bibliographical references:

          • Castaño, J. (2003). Neurobiological basis of language and its alterations. Journal of Neurology, 36 (8): 781-785.
          • Rosselli, M., Ardila, A. and Bernal, B. (2015). Angular convolutional connectivity model in language: meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging. Journal of Neurology, 60: 495-503.
          • Trejo-Martínez, D., Jiménez, F., Marc-Ortega, J., et al. (2007). Anatomical and functional aspects of the Broca zone in functional neurosurgery. Medical Journal of the General Hospital of Mexico, 70 (3): 141-149.

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