Journal home
Advance online publication
Current issue
Archive
Press releases
Supplements
Focuses
Guide to authors
Online submissionOnline submission
Permissions
For referees
Free online issue
Contact the journal
Subscribe
Advertising
work@npg
naturereprints
About this site
For librarians
 
NPG Resources
Nature
Nature Reviews Neuroscience
Nature Cell Biology
Nature Medicine
Neuroscience Gateway
UCSD-Nature Signaling Gateway
NPG Subject areas
Biotechnology
Cancer
Chemistry
Clinical Medicine
Dentistry
Development
Drug Discovery
Earth Sciences
Evolution & Ecology
Genetics
Immunology
Materials Science
Medical Research
Microbiology
Molecular Cell Biology
Neuroscience
Pharmacology
Physics
Browse all publications
Article
Nature Neuroscience  6, 774 - 781 (2003)
Published online: 22 June 2003; | doi:10.1038/nn1077

Broca's area and the language instinct

Mariacristina Musso1, Andrea Moro2, Volkmar Glauche1, Michel Rijntjes1, Jürgen Reichenbach3, Christian Büchel1 & Cornelius Weiller1

1  NeuroImage Nord, Department of Neurology, University of Hamburg, Martinistr. 52, Hamburg 20246, Germany.

2  University "Vita salute" San Raffaele, Via Olgettina 5 Milano, Italy.

3  Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Friedrich Schiller University, 1807740 Jena, Germany.

Correspondence should be addressed to Mariacristina Musso musso@uke.uni-hamburg.de
Language acquisition in humans relies on abilities like abstraction and use of syntactic rules, which are absent in other animals. The neural correlate of acquiring new linguistic competence was investigated with two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. German native speakers learned a sample of 'real' grammatical rules of different languages (Italian or Japanese), which, although parametrically different, follow the universal principles of grammar (UG). Activity during this task was compared with that during a task that involved learning 'unreal' rules of language. 'Unreal' rules were obtained manipulating the original two languages; they used the same lexicon as Italian or Japanese, but were linguistically illegal, as they violated the principles of UG. Increase of activation over time in Broca's area was specific for 'real' language acquisition only, independent of the kind of language. Thus, in Broca's area, biological constraints and language experience interact to enable linguistic competence for a new language.

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS
These links to content published by NPG are automatically generated

REFERENCE
Language
Nature Encyclopaedia of Life Sciences
 See all 5 matches for Reference

REVIEWS
Language, music, syntax and the brain
Nature Neuroscience Review (01 Jul 2003)
 See all 9 matches for Reviews

NEWS AND VIEWS
Does Broca's play by the rules?
Nature Neuroscience News and Views (01 Jul 2003)
Speech boundaries, syntax and the brain
Nature Neuroscience News and Views (01 Feb 1999)
 See all 7 matches for News And Views

RESEARCH
Brain potentials indicate immediate use of prosodic cues in natural speech processing
Nature Neuroscience Article (01 Feb 1999)
 See all 13 matches for Research

 Top
Abstract
Previous
Table of contents
Full textFull text
Download PDFDownload PDF
Send to a friendSend to a friend
Save this linkSave this link

natureevents

Figures & Tables
Supplementary info
See also: News and Views by Marcus et al.
Export citation
natureproducts

Search buyers guide:

 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
Nature Neuroscience
ISSN: 1097-6256
EISSN: 1546-1726
Journal home | Advance online publication | Current issue | Archive | Press releases | Supplements | Focuses | For authors | Online submission | Permissions | For referees | Free online issue | About the journal | Contact the journal | Subscribe | Advertising | work@npg | naturereprints | About this site | For librarians
Nature Publishing Group, publisher of Nature, and other science journals and reference works©2003 Nature Publishing Group | Privacy policy