Language is one of our most precious and uniquely human capacities, so it is not surprising that research on its neural substrates has been advancing quite rapidly in recent years. Until now, however, there has not been a single introductory textbook that focuses specifically on this topic.
Cognitive Neuroscience of Language fills that gap by providing an up-to-date, wide-ranging, and pedagogically practical survey of the most important developments in the field. It guides students through all of the major areas of investigation, beginning with fundamental aspects of brain structure and function, and then proceeding to cover aphasia syndromes, the perception and production of speech, the processing of language in written and signed modalities, the meanings of words, and the formulation and comprehension of complex expressions, including grammatically inflected words, complete sentences, and entire stories.
Drawing heavily on prominent theoretical models, the core chapters illustrate how such frameworks are supported, and sometimes challenged, by experiments employing diverse brain mapping techniques. Although much of the content is inherently challenging and intended primarily for graduate or upper-level undergraduate students, it requires no previous knowledge of either neuroscience or linguistics, defining technical terms and explaining important principles from both disciplines along the way.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Fundamentals. The Human Brain. Brain Mapping Methods. Part 2: Aphasia. Classic Aphasia Syndromes. Primary Progressive Aphasia Syndromes. Part 3: The Perception and Production of Speech. Speech Perception. Speech Production. Prosody. Part 4: Other Modalities of Language Use. Reading and Writing. Sign Language. Part 5: The Meaning of Words. Object Nouns. Action Verbs. Abstract Words. Part 6: Morphology, Syntax, and Discourse. Morphology. Sentence Production. Sentence Comprehension. Discourse.
David Kemmerer is a professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and the Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University. He is also an affiliate of the Interdepartmental Linguistics Program at Purdue. In addition, he has an adjunct appointment in the Division of Behavioral Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Iowa, where he worked as a postdoctoral fellow before becoming a faculty member at Purdue. He has taught courses on the neural bases of speech and language, the broader field of cognitive neuroscience, and diverse topics in linguistics. Professor Kemmerer’s research focuses on how different kinds of linguistic meaning are mediated by different neural systems, drawing on behavioral and lesion data from brain-damaged patients as well as behavioral, electrophysiological, and functional neuroimaging data from healthy subjects. He has published over 40 journal articles and book chapters describing various aspects of his research.
“A comprehensive, judicious, clear, and up-to-the-minute introduction to the fascinating study of the neural underpinnings of language.”
– Steven Pinker, Harvard University, and author of The Language Instinct
“It’s fantastic. Organization is great, coverage is impressive and it is highly readable. I’m impressed.”
– Greg Hickok, Professor, Cognitive Sciences, University of California Irvine
"This is a very interesting new book on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language. I recommend it for students and established researchers alike".
– Martin Pickering, Professor, Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, the University of Edinburgh
“I am extremely impressed with the material that I have seen. It is engagingly written without being shallow or pandering too much. It covers difficult material clearly, and brings in experimental studies with a good frequency and describes them with an appropriate level of detail and with good use of figures. The material is impressively up-to-date given the broad coverage, and the author does a great job of describing debates that have not been resolved in an evenhanded way that will allow the material to stand the test of time longer.”
– Ellen Lau, Assistant Professor, Linguistics, University of Maryland
“The chapters address critical issues in the field, while also providing an up-to-date review of current literature. The book strikes just the right balance between theory and application to keep students interested in the material. The author has done an excellent job of presenting research from different disciplines and integrating the patient and neuroimaging literature.”
– Christopher M. Grindrod, Assistant Professor, Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“…provides a rich and detailed introduction to the cognitive neuroscience of language. It is beautifully written – difficult ideas and concepts are explained with great clarity. It is a unique contribution in many ways.”
– Sheila E. Blumstein, Albert D. Mead Professor, Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University
“This is a wonderfully clear and informative book. It feels very cutting edge – up to the minute and also provides students with inspiration to dig further. I find this book to be a very welcome addition to what is currently out there on language and neuroscience and imagine it will become a core textbook in the area.”
– Jodi Tommerdahl, Associate Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas at Arlington
“Excellent – I read it much faster than I had anticipated I would – it was well written and you want to read more…. (at least that was my feeling – students might be a little less elated, but I still think it would be able to enthuse a good number of students).”
– Filip T. Loncke, Associate Professor, Speech Pathology & Audiology, University of Virginia
"This textbook stands out in covering a wide breadth of topics while also providing adequate depth for students in my Introduction to Neurolinguistics course to engage with the ongoing debates and most recent theoretical developments in the field."
– Jonathan Brennan, Assistant Professor, Linguistics, University of Michigan
“The material is impressive. The coverage is ambitious and representative of the state of the field. The chapters are well organized and present the material clearly and with an engaging tone.”
– Eva Fernández, Associate Professor, Linguistics & Communication Disorders, Queens College and Graduate Center, City University of New York
“This is an excellent, research-based and evidence-based textbook for Cognitive Neuroscience of Language.”
– Li Hsieh, Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Wayne State University
“A big pro is that this book does not assume much background in either linguistics or cognitive science. I like it that most chapters start with a discussion of different theoretical viewpoints, and then discuss evidence pro and con using data from a wide range of cognitive neuroscience studies .”
– Edith Kaan, Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Florida
“As a linguist with background but not expertise in psychology, I find the material immensely valuable. Mostly because it presents an overview of lots of research in cognitive neuroscience and filters that research in an understandable way so that the big picture can be perceived. And it relates the cognitive neuroscience research directly to linguistics in a way that does justice to both fields. It is admirable that the author has such command over two very different fields.”
– Nancy Hedberg, Professor, Linguistics, Simon Fraser University
“Definitely comprehensive, and careful about framing current debates in a literature that is in many places not very mature. I think that Kemmerer’s expertise as a linguist and as a cognitive neuro-scientist really shine through making this a valuable text that is informed by broad and deep understanding.”
– Laura Kertz, Assistant Professor, Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University
"David Kemmerer's Cognitive Neuroscien of Language is a superb textbook on the relation between language and the human brain ... but it will, I suspect, also become the standard work for all those researchers who wish to have a masterly overview–both broad and deep–of aphasia and neurolinguistics to frame the focus of their own research."
– Michael A. Arbib, PsyCRITIQUES, 2015