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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews recent empirical and theoretical research on the cortical underpinnings of grammatical categories. It draws on data from multiple brain mapping methods, but it places special emphasis on a topic that has been quite prominent in this branch of neurolinguistics, namely the noun-verb distinction. This distinction is addressed from five perspectives: (1) studies that focus on the meanings of prototypical object nouns and action verbs; (2) studies that report brain-damaged patients with word production impairments that selectively or disproportionately affect not only a particular grammatical category (nouns/verbs), but also a particular output channel (speaking/writing); (3) studies that attempt to overcome confounds between conceptual and grammatical factors, either by closely matching the meanings of nouns and verbs, or by investigating both concrete and abstract nouns and verbs; (4) studies that concentrate on the different inflectional processes associated with nouns and verbs; and (5) studies that address subclasses of nouns and verbs—in particular, proper versus common nouns, and transitive versus intransitive verbs. The last section of the chapter goes beyond the noun-verb distinction by briefly discussing some neurolinguistic work on other grammatical categories—specifically, adjectives and a few classes of closed-closed items.

Keywords: grammar, brain mapping, neurolinguistics, word class, speech, noun, verb

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