ISBN: 9780262353861 | 752 pp. | September 2019

Human Language

From Genes and Brains to Behavior
Edited by Peter Hagoort

Language is not only one of the most complex cognitive functions that we command, it is also the aspect of the mind that makes us uniquely human. Research suggests that the human brain exhibits a language readiness not found in the brains of other species. This volume brings together contributions from a range of fields to examine humans’ language capacity from multiple perspectives, analyzing it at genetic, neurobiological, psychological, and linguistic  levels.

In recent decades, advances in computational modeling, neuroimaging, and genetic sequencing have made possible new approaches to the study of language, and the contributors draw on these developments. The book examines cognitive architectures, investigating the functional organization of the major language skills; learning and development trajectories, summarizing the current understanding of the steps and neurocognitive mechanisms in language processing; evolutionary and other preconditions for communication by means of natural language; computational tools for modeling language; cognitive neuroscientific methods that allow observations of the human brain in action, including fMRI, EEG/MEG, and others; the neural infrastructure of language capacity; the genome’s role in building and maintaining the language-ready brain; and insights from studying such language-relevant behaviors in nonhuman animals as birdsong and primate vocalization.

Section editors
Christian F. Beckmann, Carel ten Cate, Simon E. Fisher, Peter Hagoort, Evan Kidd, Stephen C. Levinson, James M. McQueen, Antje S. Meyer, David Poeppel, Caroline F. Rowland, Constance Scharff, Ivan Toni, Willem Zuidema

Table of Contents

    1. 1. Introduction
    2. 2. Mental Representations for Language
    3. 3. Language Comprehension: Insights from Research on Spoken Language
    4. 4. The Architecture of Speaking
    5. 5. The Cognitive Architecture of Reading: The Organization of an Acquired Skill
    6. 6. Language in the Visual Modality: Co-speech Gesture and Sign Language
    7. 7. Key Issues and Future Directions: Toward a Comprehensive Cognitive Architecture for Language Use
    8. 8. Six Questions in Infant Speech and Language Development
    9. 9. How to Learn a Word: The Dynamic Coupling of Words and Referents in Real and Developmental Time
    10. 10. Insights into Understanding Human Language from Children’s Acquisition of Morphology and Syntax: A Historical and Current Perspective on Central Questions in the Field
    11. 11. A Neural Blueprint of Language Acquisition
    12. 12. Multilingual Development
    13. 13. Key Issues and Future Directions: How Do Children Acquire Language?
    14. 14. Interactional Foundations of Language: The Interaction Engine Hypothesis
    15. 15. The Structure and Timing of Human versus Primate Social Interaction
    16. 16. The Resilience of Language: Homesign
    17. 17. Depicting in Communication
    18. 18. Conceptual Alignment as a Neurocognitive Mechanism for Human Communicative Interactions
    19. 19. Key Issues and Future Directions: Interactional Foundations for Language
    20. 20. Speech Perception and Production
    21. 21. Neural Network Models of Language Acquisition and Processing
    22. 22. Cognitive Models of Syntax and Sentence Processing
    23. 23. Vector-Based and Neural Models of Semantics
    24. 24. Language Processing in the Brain: Mapping Neural Activity to Language Meaning
    25. 25. The Robot Writer
    26. 26. Key Issues and Future Directions: Models of Human Language and Speech Processing
    27. 27. The Cortical Processing of Speech Sounds in the Temporal Lobe
    28. 28. Functional Anatomy of Speech Production: From Words to Motor Control
    29. 29. Neural Oscillations and Their Role in Speech and Language Processing
    30. 30. Explaining Speech Comprehension: Integrating Electrophysiology, Evolution, and Cross-Linguistic Diversity
    31. 31. A Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective on Language Comprehension in Context
    32. 32. Key Issues and Future Directions: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?
    33. 33. Receptor and Cytoarchitecture of Language-Related Cortical Areas
    34. 34. The Human Language Connectome
    35. 35. The “Speech Ready” Auditory Cortex
    36. 36. The Speech-Ready Organization of the Motor Cortex
    37. 37. Insights into the Neurobiology of Language from Individuals Born Blind or Deaf
    38. 38. Key Issues and Future Directions: The Neural Architecture for Language
    39. 39. Mapping Genes Involved in Reading and Language Skills
    40. 40. Deciphering Genetics of Speech-Motor Disorders
    41. 41. Neuromolecular Approaches to the Study of Language
    42. 42. The Genetic Bases of Brain Lateralization
    43. 43. Key Issues and Future Directions: Genes and Language
    44. 44. The Comparative Approach to the Biology and Evolution of Language
    45. 45. Primate Vocalization as a Model for Human Speech: Scopes and Limits
    46. 46. Vocal Learning and Spoken Language: Insights from Animal Models with an Emphasis on Genetic Contributions
    47. 47. The Grammatical Abilities of Animals: A Comparative Overview
    48. 48. Speech Perception: What Do Nonhuman Animals Have to Say?
    49. 49. Key Issues and Future Directions: The Comparative Approach to Language
    50. Contributors
    51. Index