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Book Chapter

White-matter pathways for speech and language processing


Friederici,  Angela D.
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Friederici, A. D. (2015). White-matter pathways for speech and language processing. In M. J. Aminoff, F. Boller, & D. J. Swaab (Eds.), Handbook of Clinical Neurology: Vol. 129. The human auditory system: Fundamental organization and clinical disorders (pp. 177-186). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-A0B0-B
The language-relevant brain regions, Brodmann's area in the inferior frontal cortex and Wernicke's area in the superior temporal cortex, are connected via long-range fiber bundles, which are located dorsally and ventrally to the sylvian fissure. These dorsal and ventral pathways consist of a number of partly parallel-running fiber tracts, which can be differentiated by their termination regions and by the particular language functions of these termination regions. Dorsally, there are two major fiber tracts connecting the posterior temporal cortex with the frontal cortex: one terminating in the premotor cortex that subserves sensory-to-motor mapping and one terminating in posterior Broca's area, the pars opercularis, that supports the processing of complex syntactic structures. Ventrally, two language-related fiber tracts are discussed: one connects the inferior frontal cortex, i.e., the pars triangularis and orbitalis, with Wernicke's area and supports semantic processes and another one connects the most ventral portions of the inferior frontal cortex, including the frontal operculum, with the anterior temporal cortex. This latter ventral tract is suggested to subserve elementary combinatorial processes in language. Together these fiber tracts guarantee the transmission of information between different brain regions within the neural language network.