In order to accurately estimate the risk of surgery for dominant perisylvian arteriovenous malformations, the topographical relationship of the lesion to language cortex must be determined. A case is presented in which a magnetoencephalographic (MEG) study was used to map preoperatively and noninvasively an intracortical source of speech-receptive cortex in a 25-year-old right-handed man with a dominant left temporal lobe arteriovenous malformation. The speech-evoked magnetic field was analyzed at 36 positions over the left hemisphere in response to presentations of the consonant-vowel syllables "da" and "ga." A topographical map of the magnetic component evoked at 110 msec after stimulus onset, which was negative going to the vertex in concurrent electrical recordings, was congruent with a superficial cortical neuronal current source. This source was displaced from that usually observed in normal individuals to tonal or click stimuli, being superior to the probable location of auditory cortex, and superior and anterior to the probable location of Wernicke's area as conventionally described. The MEG results were in accord with the determination of position of a language-processing cortical area as assessed by direct electrical stimulation of the cortex during surgery under local anesthesia, and by superselective Amytal (amobarbital) injection during angiography. The MEG recordings and exposed brain stimulation sites were coordinated by cranial measurements, skull x-ray landmarks, and angiographic anatomy. Investigations such as this, which compare MEG findings with those from established clinical procedures, are an essential step in determining the physiological and anatomical utility of magnetoencephalography for noninvasive clinical functional localization.