Language Development through a Bilingual Lens, pp.201-214
Authors: Eswen Fava and Rachel Hull, Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University College Station, TX
Abstract: The notion that language “lives” in the left hemisphere (LH) emerged from the classic observations of Broca (1861) and Wernicke (1911), who found that patients with (LH) focal lesions showed consistent and systematic behavioral deficits for language. Over time, additional lesion deficit data have largely supported the early findings of Broca and Wernicke, and the assumption that language is typically a left-lateralized processing event has become a generally accepted tenet. However, there has been a noteworthy subset of cases that do not follow the predicted pattern. For instance, numerous studies have found that LH lesions sustained in early childhood do not typically result in language deficits or pronounced speech problems (e.g., Thal, 1997; Vargha-Khadem, O'Gorman, and Watters, 1985; Woods and Carey, 1979, 2000; Woods and Teuber, 1978). Other studies have found the same pattern in young (but not older) patients and have suggested that reorganization of language representation from the LH to the right hemisphere (RH) is more likely if injury occurs before the age of five (Duncan et al., 1997; Muller et al., 1999; Muller, Rothermel, Behen et al., 1998; Muller, Rothermel, Muzik et al., 1998).