I Want to Learn How to Think Beyond Academic Disciplines

Vol.6 2012.03.19 SAKAI, Kuniyoshi

Changes in Human Languages Seen from the Brain

March 19 - 20, 2012

Languages have rules not because humans created languages according to certain rules but languages abide by laws of nature ----. While this theory of language innateness by Chomsky has sparked heated debates among its proponents and opponents, latest studies in science appear to endorse his argument. We have detected the center (grammar center) for processing grammars located at the frontal lobe on the left side of the brain. It has been also clear that as the learning of second language (English) grammar progresses, the same grammar center dramatically "transforms" through plastic changes of the brain, gradually revealing the "language map" in the brain universal to human languages. In this lecture, let us first have a proper understanding of the "innateness" of languages and then think about the linguistic mechanisms "transformed" after birth.


SAKAI, Kuniyoshi
Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Arts and Science, Tokyo University. Doctorate of Science. Upon finishing his doctorate program at Tokyo University's School of Science in 1992, he became a Research Assistant at the First Department of Physiology at Tokyo University's Faculty of Medicine. After serving as a Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School in 1995 and a Visiting Scholar at MIT in 1996, he has served in the present position since 1997 (Assistant Professor and Associate Professor). He received the 56th Maichich Award for Print Culture with The Brain Science of Language (Chuko Shinsho) in 2002 and the 19th Tsukahara Nakaakira Memorial Award in 2005. His areas of research are brain science of language and brain function imaging. He is aiming toward scientifically clarifying the human nature through language.


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