Friday, April 30, 2010

brain modules that comprise the Language Organ

Instead, humans rely on several regions of the brain, each designed to accomplish different primitive tasks, in order to make sense of a sentence. Depending on the type of grammar used in forming a given sentence, the brain will activate a certain set of regions to process it, like a carpenter digging through a toolbox to pick a group of tools to accomplish the various basic components that comprise a complex task.
"We're using and adapting the machinery we already have in our brains," said study coauthor Aaron Newman. "Obviously we're doing something different [from other animals], because we're able to learn language unlike any other species. But it's not because some little black box evolved specially in our brain that does only language, and nothing else."

D: variable word order in sign language makes it useful.
The brain uses different parts for rigid word order and Latinate infixes.
I..e analytic versus synthetic.

In fact, Newman said, in trying to understand different types of grammar, humans draw on regions of the brain that are designed to accomplish primitive tasks that relate to the type of sentence they are trying to interpret. For instance, a word order sentence draws on parts of the frontal cortex that give humans the ability to put information into sequences, while an inflectional sentence draws on parts of the temporal lobe that specialize in dividing information into its constituent parts, the study demonstrated.

D: I'll get around to that SPE-derived Espo critique eventually. Been distracted by the nice weather, taking lotsa long bike rides in the countryside.

1 comment:

Dino Snider said...

Chomsky must feel vindicated, that a scanner has finally detected what he postulates so long ago!
I'd be curious if the various physical locations lead to additional refinement of his model.