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Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

Bree Baldwin, Memory Activity Specialist
Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bree’s Brain Bulletin

blog-breejpgLanguage.  It is one of the most powerful tools we, as humans, have at our disposal for survival.  It is the thing that helps us detail to others our needs and desires, allows us to relay information, pass down culture to our offspring, make a powerful persuasive argument, interact with people from other parts of the world, and the list goes on and on.  Because language is so very important, we suffer when we lose the ability to use it, or use it effectively.  Not being able to communicate can cut us off from others.

You’ll be amazed at the complex, circuitous path through the brain language must take to allow you to communicate; from hearing the spoken word, to comprehending what is said, and finally, creating and voicing a response.  You may also appreciate what can happen if there is damage to any one of the brain areas involved in speech from brain disease, trauma, or dysfunction.

There are four major regions of the brain through which language travels on this path: 

The auditory cortex:  Sound travels in waves into your ears, is converted into neural impulses, and makes its way to the auditory cortex (located just above your ears), which is full of neurons responsible for processing and understanding sounds, then sending those messages to other parts of the brain.  It sends messages to…

Wernicke’s area:  An area of the brain identified by Karl Wernicke, a German neuorolgist and psychiatrist in 1874.  It is located on the left side of the brain (left temporal lobe, posterior to the auditory cortex), and is responsible for decoding and understanding the language messages sent from the auditory cortex (it is the translator).  Next, impulses arrive in…

Broca’s area:  An area identified by Paul Broca in 1861, a French neurosurgeon, in the frontal lobe of the brain, and is responsible for generating language and speech (it is the word “chooser”).

Motor cortex:  The brain area that, literally, helps you speak the words you are thinking by controlling the movement of your mouth and lips as they form words.

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