What are the neurological bases of human language, and how did they evolve? What makes human language special? For the past two hundred years virtually all attempts to account for the neural bases and evolution of language have looked to the neocortex, the most recent evolutionary aspect of the mammalian brain. In recent years, following Noam Chomskys lead, linguistic research has virtually equated syntax with language. Syntactic ability is taken to be a unique characteristic of the human mind, deriving from genetically transmitted language instinct.In this provocative book, Lieberman shifts the focus, arguing that language is not an instinct coded in a discrete cortical language organ, but a learned skill, based on a Functional Language System distributed over many parts of the human brain. To make his case, Lieberman synthesises converging behavioral and neurobiological data, including clinical evidence from speech-impaired patients (some with Parkinsons disease, whose deficits are subcortical, and some with Brocas aphasia)
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Human language and our reptilian brain: The …
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