chapter  6
35 Pages

Brain Functions of Language

ByMildred C. Robeck, Randall R. Wallace

The human brain continues to change throughout the lifespan of the individual from early development through maturation and aging. The brain edits its own activity, using experience to build and revise its own structures, functions, and chemistry. This continuous revision also occurs across generations, meaning that our brain activity changes the culture and the environment which, in turn, alter the brain. The concept of brain change during life experience and across generations is basic to understanding the relationship of speech, a human-specific function, and written communication, a human necessity acquired only recently. The physical structures of perception and memory also change with experience. The interaction of innate influences and acquired influences is discussed in this chapter. Many contemporary linguists have been investigating whether human newborns are phylogenically oriented to speech. British psychologists implanted hydrophones inside the amniotic sacs of pregnant ewes to record and transmit sounds from outside the maternal body.