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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Volume 2011, Issue 184


Language and brain: Recasting meaning in the definition of human language

Edna Andrews
Published Online: 2011-03-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2011.020


The purpose of this paper is to articulate the central issues and controversies that currently dominate the study of the relationship between language and brain and, as a result, we will attempt to fundamentally redefine the way language is viewed by the neurosciences by recasting traditional linguistic definitions of human language. In order to achieve these goals, we will take into account (1) important aspects of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurofunctionality, (2) the role of imaging technologies (especially PET and fMRI) in formulating specific questions for testing hypotheses about language and the brain, including what these technologies can and cannot do, and (3) a discussion of the myths about the neurological representations of human language. Our conclusions will take into account evidence on aphasias and medial temporal lobe (MTL) damage that directly affects the way we understand the relationship between language, brain, and memory.

Keywords:: language; imaging studies; MTL (medial temporal lobe); H. M.; neurolinguistics; cognitive linguistics

About the article

Published Online: 2011-03-22

Published in Print: 2011-04-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2011, Issue 184, Pages 11–32, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.2011.020.

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