Language, Neurology of

  • George A. Ojemann
Part of the Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience book series (REN)


The generally accepted model of the neural basis of human language was derived a little over a century ago from observations of language changes after strokes. The observations of the French neurologist/anthropologist Paul Broca and the German neurologist Carl Wernicke were particularly important. The model has two major features. Unlike most functions for which the right brain does for the left body what the left brain does for the right body, the essential neural mechanisms for language are usually lateralized to one cerebral hemisphere, most often the left. That hemisphere is designated as dominant. The second feature of the traditional model is that within the dominant hemisphere, only certain areas are important for language, as illustrated in Figure 1.


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Further reading


  1. Calvin W, Ojemann G (1980): Inside the Brain. New York: New American LibraryGoogle Scholar


  1. Geschwind N, Galaburda A (1985): Cerebral Lateralization. Arch Neurol 42:428–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Intrahemispheric Localization

  1. Ojemann G (1983): Brain Organization for Language from the Perspective of Electrical Stimulation Mapping. Behav Brain Sci 6:189–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Penfield W, Roberts L (1959): Speech and Brain-Mechanisms. Princeton: Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • George A. Ojemann

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