The neurobiology of sign language and its implications for the neural basis of language

  title={The neurobiology of sign language and its implications for the neural basis of language},
  author={Gregory Hickok and Ursula Bellugi and Edward S. Klima},
THE left cerebral hemisphere is dominant for language, and many aspects of language use are more impaired by damage to the left than the right hemisphere. The basis for this asymmetry, however, is a matter of debate; the left hemisphere may be specialized for processing linguistic information1–3 or for some more general function on which language depends, such as the processing of rapidly changing temporal information4 or execution of complex motor patterns5. To investigate these possibilities… Expand
The Basis of the Neural Organization for Language: Evidence from Sign Language Aphasia
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Brain and Language a Perspective from Sign Language
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The neural organization of language: evidence from sign language aphasia
Investigation of the neurobiology of signed language investigates the neurological similarities and differences between signed and spoken language to identify modality-specific contributions to brain organization for language. Expand
The cognitive neuroscience of signed language.
The present article is an assessment of the current state of knowledge in the field of cognitive neuroscience of signed language. Reviewed lesion data show that the left hemisphere is dominant forExpand
The neural representation of language in users of American Sign Language.
Data from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of deaf signers confirm the importance of left hemisphere language structures in the use of signed language, but also reveal the contributions of right hemisphere regions to the processing of ASL. Expand
What's right about the neural organization of sign language? A perspective on recent neuroimaging results
The main points are that the vast majority of behavioral, neuropsychological, and functional imaging data support the hypothesis that the left hemisphere is dominant for lexical and grammatical aspects of sign language perception and production, and that the within-hemisphere organization of signed and spoken language is in many respects the same—but not in all respects. Expand
Language and the Left Hemisphere
Abstract Language is our most important means of communication. Most, but not all, aspects of language processing are controlled by the left hemisphere, and language lateralization is one of theExpand
Neural Organization of Language : Clues From Sign Language Aphasia
A central issue in understanding the neural organization of language is the extent to which this organization is dependent on the sensory and motor modalities through which language is perceived andExpand
Signed and Spoken Language: A Unique Underlying System?
It is conjecture that under favorable circumstances, deaf children exploit sign input to gain entry into the language system with the same facility as hearing children do with spoken input. Expand
Establishing which neural systems support processing of signed languages informs a number of important neuroscience and linguistic questions. First, what constitutes the ‘core language system’ whatExpand


The linguistic basis of left hemisphere specialization.
This analysis supports a linguistic basis of left hemisphere specialization in deaf and hearing individuals through lateralization of spoken language, signed language, and nonlinguistic gesture. Expand
Language, modality and the brain
The studies reviewed in this article show that the left cerebral hemisphere in man is specialized for signed as well as spoken languages, and thus may have an innate predisposition for language, independent of language modality. Expand
Left-hemisphere control of oral and brachial movements and their relation to communication.
  • D. Kimura
  • Medicine
  • Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
  • 1982
It is suggested that oral and manual apraxia, as well as aphasia, may be a manifestation of a basic motor selection problem in lesions of frontal and parietal lobes, but that the temporal region has some important acoustic-motor function in speech. Expand
Aphasia in a prelingually deaf woman.
This case confirms the importance of the left hemisphere in the processing of sign language and indicates that the left supramarginal and angular gyri are necessary substrates for the comprehension of visual/gestural languages. Expand
On the nature of phonological structure in sign language
The study of phonological structure and patterns across languages is seen by contemporary phonologists as a way of gaining insight into language as a cognitive system. Traditionally, phonologistsExpand
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Introduction PART I: The Two Faces of Sign 1. Iconicity in Signs and Signing 2. Properties of Symbols in a Silent Language 3. Historical Change: From Iconic to Arbitrary PART II: The Structure of theExpand
Neuromotor mechanisms in human communication
Introduction 1. Asymmetry 2. Noncortical systems in speaking 3. Cortical systems in speaking 4. Oral movement control and speech 5. Manual praxis 6. Constructional ability 7. Manual sign language 8.Expand
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The assessment of aphasia and related disorders
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This chapter explains the phonemic status of handshape change in ASL, the signed language of the American Deaf, and presents a comparison of two representations of the contour handshapes, namely, a branching contour representation and a contour feature representation. Expand