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Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 381–387

First Online: 04 November 2011Received: 12 September 2011Accepted: 18 October 2011


The paper argues that both evolutionary and genetic approaches to studying the biological foundations of speech and language could benefit from fractionating the problem at a finer grain, aiming not to map genetics to -language-—or even subdomains of language such as -phonology- or -syntax-—but rather to link genetic results to component formal operations that underlie processing the comprehension and production of linguistic representations. Neuroanatomic and neurophysiological research suggests that language processing is broken down in space distributed functional anatomy along concurrent pathways and time concurrent processing on multiple time scales. These parallel neuronal pathways and their local circuits form the infrastructure of speech and language and are the actual targets of evolution-genetics. Therefore, investigating the mapping from gene to brain circuit to linguistic phenotype at the level of generic computational operations subroutines actually executable in these circuits stands to provide a new perspective on the biological foundations in the healthy and challenged brain.

KeywordsEvolution Functional anatomy Neural circuit Linguistics Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders JNDD-126

Special issue: Mabel Rice

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Autor: David Poeppel


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