JOBY JOHN

Student

KOTTAYAM, KERALA

Interests: English language...

  • Posted 3 Years ago
  • 1.0k

Neurolinguistics

View Original Photo

All theories regarding language acquisition and meaning generation analyze the spoken or written form of language to study how language is acquired and meaning is generated. Bhratrhari and Chomsky could reach the psycholinguistic realm of language. Apart from those Eastern and Western linguistic theories, Neurolinguistics offers a developmental theory of language and the neural system, which is the source behind all linguistics capabilities. Neuro-linguistic deals with the biological factors behind language learning, where all languages are give a universal nature in the realm of language acquisition. It is the study of the neural mechanisms in the human brain that control the language production and acquisition. It studies the relationship between language and brain. The term ‘Neuro-Linguistics’ was firstly used by a French neurologist Henry Hecaen in the late 1960s. Zoltan Dorneyi gives an introduction to Neurolinguistics in his book entitled The Psychology of Second Language Acquisition.

Neurolinguistics shares similar objectives with cognitive Linguistics but draws on neuropsychology rather than cognitive psychology as the main source of psychological knowledge….The term ‘Neurolinguistics’ was first used by French neurologist Henry Hecaen in the late 1960s, to denote the discipline that was to bridge a gap between the neurosciences (neurology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neurochemistry) and human communication (Linguistics and psycholinguistics). Originally, the main emphasis of the field was on studying verbal deficits resulting from cortical lesions and thereof Neurolinguistics was initially closely associated with language pathology (6).

But later the focus of this new field was shifted to find out the relationship between language and brain. If the human brain were simple enough for the researchers to understand, they would be too simple-minded to understand it. For the convenience, it is necessary to have a basic awareness of human brain to find out the relationship between language and brain. The anatomical structures and functional mechanism permit language acquisition. The nervous system provides this capability. All data from outside(input) function as stimuli.All these external stimuli (Reflected reality) or input including visual, olfactory, gustatory, auditory and tactile are converted to neuro impulses (transformed reflected reality) (Refer figure 4.1) and these transformed reflected realities are analyzed within the brain. These inputs are converted within the receptors (eyes, nose, ear etc.). Nervous signals travel rapidly from the receptors to brain and vice versa. These neuro impulses are produced due to chemical changes, within the receptors or in the brain. Each and every input trigger a kind of chemical change and these become neuro impulses. These electrical potentials are a fundamental physiological currency. It is described in Principle of Animal Physiology by Christopher D. Moyes and Patricia M. Schulte:

Just as we use electricity to power many of the machines we use in our daily if lives, animals also use electricity to power cellular activities. Cells establish a charge difference across biological membranes by moving ions and molecules to create ion and electrical gradients across membranes. All cells and many organelles within cells rely on this potential difference, or membrane potential, to drive processes that are needed for survival. Animals also use changes in electrical potentials to send signals within and between cells, helping to coordinate the complex processes of the body. Muscles and neurons, two cell types that are found only in animals, we changes in membrane potential to send signals (44- 45).

It is clear from the above description that electrical theory has played an important role in the realm of the Central Nervous System (CNS), Peripheral Nervous System(PNS) and movement of muscles. Not only electrical potentials but also temperature affects physiological processes. The rate of chemical reactions changes according to the temperature variations. All inputs have the capacity to influence biochemical and physiological patterns in an active or passive manner. All inputs are received according to its need and function concerning human body as well as animals. Food, water, light and air are some of the basic essentials of animals. There is a pattern through which these things are received and are transformed into smaller units.

Everybody will reject what is unnecessary. But apart from these inputs language (consider it as an input or reflected reality) has a special nature. That is language affects the brain and it will be recorded in the form of chemical compounds and neuro impulses. Human brain is a programmed and self programmed system. Comparing to human brain other animals brain systems are simple programmed system whereas human brain makes simple to complex. The relevance of Neurolinguistics begins this point to analyze the science of language. Language enables its user to remodel their physiological and psychological machinery in response to external conditions. The vitality of children’s literature and religious texts is revealed here. Language includes both potential and kinetic energy forms. All biological processes involve combinations of Radiant, Mechanical, Electrical, Thermal and Chemical forms of energy. Because organisms can transfer one form of energy into another and language (combination of all senses’ experience and that’s verbal expression) can trigger all these energy forms. That is the reason why if somebody says something to us we will respond either positively or negatively.

As it is stated brain is behind all verbal and non verbal productions. Therefore it is necessary to have a microscopic search to come up with the result of the quest to find out the universality of language acquisition. Communication happens through signals in the form of sounds, scents and visual cues. All these outputs are the transformed amplified chemical and electrical signals within the brain. According to Christopher D. Moyes:

All every level of organization, life depends on communication. Animals send signals in the form of sounds, scents and visual cues. Within an organism, the organs, tissues and cells communicate with each other using chemical and electrical signals. Even within a single cell there is constant communication of information among organelles. Every organ, tissue, cell or organelle in a multi cellular organism must stay in constant communication so that the organism can function as an integrated whole (138).

Brain is a complex system made of neurons and other chemical compounds. This complex nervous system is divided into two: CNS and PNS. It is a very complex communication network that allows an organism to interact in appropriate ways with its environment (both external and internal) (Robert M. Berne). It allows a body to response to the external stimuli. Neural circuits make these responses possible. CNS and PNS are described well in Physiology by Robert M. Berne and Matthew N. Levy:

The peripheral nervous system (PNS) provides an interface between the central nervous system and the environment it includes sensory components formed by sensory receptors and primary afferent neurons and motor components formed by somatic and auto motor neurons …. (93).The central nervous system (CNS), among other functions, gathers information about the environment from the PNS, processes this information and perceives part of its, organizes reflex and other behavioral responses, is responsible for cognition, learning and memory, and plans and executes voluntary movements (94).

Sensory detection, information processing and behavior are some of the basic function of the nervous system. When these functions are connected to Linguistics, language acquisition and its preservation (memory) are some other forms of the information processing which allow behavior to change according to the variation of the matrix.

            Information processing is a neural communication system through which neural circuits are interconnected. Axons play a vital role in the transformation of information. The information conveyed by axons may be encoded in several ways. According to Robert M. Berne and Mathew N. Levy

A labeled line is a set of neurons dedicated to a general function, such as particular sensory modality. For example, the visual pathway includes neurons in the retina, the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus, and the visual areas of the cerebral cortex. A second way in which information is encoded by the nervous system is through neural maps. A somato topic map is formed by arrays of neurons in the sensory or motor system that (1) receives information from corresponding locations on the body surface or (2) issue motor commands to move particular parts of the body. In the visual system, points on the retina are represented by neuronal arrays that form retinotopic maps. In the auditory system the frequency of sounds in represented in tonotopic maps.

A third method for encoding information is by patterns of nervous impulses…

(The nervous system and its components.103).

According to Anne Waguh and Allison Grant sensory receptors provide information to CNS about its external and internal environment. The information is received in the CNS by trains of nerve impulses, which is the result of the excitation caused by stimulus.

All these stimuli are generated by special sensory systems, which include the visual, auditory, vestibular, olfactory and gustatory systems. These special sensory systems are in all living beings to behave according to the signals in the matrix. Proper language acquisition includes the complied encoding of these external reflected realties, decoding of the transformed reflected realities and the response of to these external stimuli. Proper meaning is generated only when a proper co-ordination of CNS and PNS happens. When all these facts connect with language acquisition it is obvious that there is a universal structure in language acquisition in the realm of physiology as well as psychology. Language acquisition begins when fetus starts to respond to the external stimuli. Majority of these external stimuli includes audio excitations (Excitability is a cellular property of neurons involving electrical signals that enable them to receive and transmit information. Sensory detection is the process whereby neurons transduce environmental energy into neural signals. Sensory detection is accomplished by special neurons called sensory receptors. Various forms of energy can be sensed, including mechanical forces, light, sound chemicals, temperature, and in some animals electrical fields.). That is if a child is going to be born in a place where English is the mother tongue the child will already have an experience of the structured matrix before its birth. Later when the child grows, he/she start to respond to the reflected realities as natural. The immature organs of speech do not allow the child to reproduce the sounds he/she hears around. Later their experiences of actions, states and possessions are learned by the child how these excitations are defined by the parents and society to him/her. And in the case of second language acquisition, an act of paralleling and equalization are happening. For example the word “man” is translated to Syriac as                          Gavra. The whole specialty of the word “man” (in the realm of Meaning) is equalized in the word “man”. But for a native speaker its meaning is entirely different. Therefore second language acquisition is a process in which the entire brain takes part as if of the first language.

Post a Comment

1000 Characters Remaining

Back To Top