The LATL as locus of composition: MEG evidence from English and Arabic

Masha Westerlund, Itamar Kastner, Meera Al Kaabi, Liina Pylkkänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Neurolinguistic investigations into the processing of structured sentences as well as simple adjective-noun phrases point to the left anterior temporal lobe (LATL) as a leading candidate for basic linguistic composition. Here, we characterized the combinatory profile of the LATL over a variety of syntactic and semantic environments, and across two languages, English and Arabic. The contribution of the LATL was investigated across two types of composition: the optional modification of a predicate (modification) and the satisfaction of a predicate's argument position (argument saturation). Target words were presented during MEG recordings, either in combinatory contexts (e.g. "eats meat") or in non-combinatory contexts (preceded by an unpronounceable consonant string, e.g. "xqkr meat"). Across both languages, the LATL showed increased responses to words in combinatory contexts, an effect that was robust to composition type and word order. Together with related findings, these results solidify the role of the LATL in basic semantic composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-134
Number of pages11
JournalBrain and Language
Volume141
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

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Temporal Lobe
semantics
evidence
English language
recording
Semantics
candidacy
Meat
linguistics
Language
language
Linguistics
Locus

Keywords

  • Composition
  • Left anterior temporal lobe
  • MEG
  • Semantics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

The LATL as locus of composition : MEG evidence from English and Arabic. / Westerlund, Masha; Kastner, Itamar; Al Kaabi, Meera; Pylkkänen, Liina.

In: Brain and Language, Vol. 141, 01.02.2015, p. 124-134.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Westerlund, Masha ; Kastner, Itamar ; Al Kaabi, Meera ; Pylkkänen, Liina. / The LATL as locus of composition : MEG evidence from English and Arabic. In: Brain and Language. 2015 ; Vol. 141. pp. 124-134.
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