Neurolinguistics

Topics: Linguistics, Language, Brain Pages: 5 (1751 words) Published: December 14, 2013
Bettina Phan
ENGL4315
Intro to Sociolinguistics
Final Research Paper

Neurolinguistics

The study of neurolinguistics covers the relationship between language and communication to different parts of the human brain. Neurolinguistics mainly “explores how the brain understands and produces language and communication (Ahslen 3).” In order to study this relationship, it is necessary to combine several theories that are commonly used by researchers in this field, such as neurological and neurophysiological theory, and linguistic theory. Neurological and neurophysiological theory focuses on how the brain is structured and how it functions. Human behavior is best defined, explored, and explained through activity within the brain that includes neural firing and how different clusters of neurons work together to generate a behavioral pattern. Linguistic theory focuses on how language is structured and how it functions. It is believed that every community has their own language and repertoire that is considered socially acceptable when used among peers; this common language unites all of the individuals within the community. Researchers of this theory mainly study how these different languages interact with each other, whether it is a negative or positive outcome. Neurolinguistics also has existing theories that have a considerable amount of influence among researchers. The first theory is called localism, which “tries to find locations or centers in the brain for different language functions (Ahslen 5).” Another existing theory is associationism, which “situates language functions in the connections between different areas of the brain (Ahslen 5).” For example, the brain is able to establish a connection between the perception of senses with words and social concepts. Dynamic localization of function describes the existence of a functional system of localized sub functions within the brain that perform language functions. These systems are considered dynamic and are capable of being reorganized during the development of language or after brain damage. Holistic theories explain that multiple areas of the brain collectively work together in order to carry out all language functions. Evolution-based theories explain the relationship between the brain and language evolves over time. As time passes, the development of language evolves in different species, how it is first developed in children, and how adults carry out language functions. The main question that is explored in neurolinguistics is how the ability to communicate and the ability to use language evolved as the species evolved and how are these abilities related to the evolution of the brain.

Even though it is not technologically possible to examine the human brain and how it reacts to language acquisition and development in this situation, it is still possible to collect data on how these abilities evolved over time. The best method to collect this data is to interview subjects and explore their personal experiences with acquiring their first language and how they developed it in order to communicate with others. The first step to creating this experiment is establishing a list of potential interview questions that will be used to help understand the subject’s personal experiences. These questions must be thought-provoking enough for the subject to be capable of giving substantial and thorough answers. The next step would be choosing subjects that will be interviewed. There are no specific characteristics a subject must have but it is ideal to have a wide range of demographics dispersed among these individuals. The top three characteristics that are generally needed to be widely different from each other are gender, race, and age. The wide differences between these characteristics are important because it simply makes it easier to see how the evolution of language and communication changes among the different individuals in society. After the questions and...

Cited: Ahlsén, Elisabeth. Introduction to Neurolinguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006. University of Houston Libraries. Web. Nov. 2013.
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