Cortical-subcortical production of formulaic language: A review of linguistic, brain disorder, and functional imaging studies leading to a production model

Diana Van Lancker Sidtis, John J. Sidtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Formulaic language forms about one-fourth of everyday talk. Formulaic (fixed expressions) and novel (grammatical language) differ in important characteristics. The features of idioms, slang, expletives, proverbs, aphorisms, conversational speech formulas, and other fixed expressions include ranges of length, flexible cohesion, memory storage, nonliteral and situation meaning, and affective content. Neurolinguistic observations in persons with focal brain damage or progressive neurological disease suggest that producing formulaic expressions can be achieved by interactions between the right hemisphere and subcortical structures. The known functional characteristics of these structures form a compatible substrate for production of formulaic expressions. Functional imaging using a performance-based analysis supported a right hemisphere involvement in producing conversational speech formulas, while indicating that the pause fillers, uh and um, engage the left hemisphere and function like lexical items. Together these findings support a dual-process model of language, whereby formulaic and grammatical language are modulated by different cerebral structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalBrain and cognition
Volume126
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Keywords

  • Dual process model
  • Formulaic language
  • Neurolinguistic studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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