The rhythms of language: an overview of linguistic processes and neural oscillations


For the last decades neuroscientists have grown interest in the analysis of the rhythmic activity of the brain synchronized at temporal and spatial level. These neural oscillations, grouped by their frequency, have been proposed to govern all cognitive processes. In the field of the neurobiology of language, considerable research has linked speech processing and language comprehension to neural oscillations. On one hand, neural rhythmic activity is thought to synchronize to relevant spectral information of speech on three-time scales – which physically reflect phoneme, syllable and phrase processing. On the other hand, syntactic and semantic processing is subserved by faster oscillatory patterns not necessarily related to the acoustic properties of speech. For each linguistic process, this article summarizes the neural oscillations involved. Further evidence comes from studies on language-related pathologies.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i25327518v5i1p37

Keywords: brain rhythms; linguistic operations; speech processing; language comprehension

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