GARCIA adolfo Martin
congresos y reuniones científicas
Aphasiology and Cognitive Linguistics: What Double Dissociations Reveal about the Mental Organization of Language
GARCÍA, ADOLFO MARTÍN
Conferencia; 39th LACUS Conference; 2012
Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States
One of the goals of cognitive linguistics is to establish how language is organized within the individual´s mind. In this sense, two of the key questions the field seeks to answer are: (i) To what extent can language be seen as a distinct, integrated system within the frame of human cognition? (ii) Which functionally autonomous subsystems does language comprise? Depending on their theoretical affiliations and concerns, researchers may turn to different sources of insight to model the cognitive architecture of linguistic systems. Some tend to invoke formal a priori arguments (e.g., Chomsky 1986); there are those who make use of analytical data (e.g., Lakoff 1987); others rely on behavioral experiments (e.g., Kolers 1968); still others draw upon clinical evidence (e.g., Paradis 1989, 2001). Focusing on the latter source, the present paper aims at answering the abovementioned questions by highlighting some well-established facts revealed by aphasiological double dissociations. Succinctly, double dissociations are patterns detected whenever a lesion in a brain area A produces deficit X but not Y, while a lesion in area B produces deficit Y but not X. It is well known that brain-lesion studies are not enough to localize specific areas subserving language functions at the neurological level (Grodzinsky 2002). However, they do provide a firm ?albeit partial? fact-base relevant to all cognitive models of language, be they neurologically-oriented or not (cf. Sévigny and Humphreys 2007). Specifically, aphasiological double dissociations prove that: (a) Language is an integrated system within an individual?s cognitive system. (b) It comprises several subsystems which are functionally autonomous. (c) No single subsystem is indispensable for the operation of the remaining of the system -although an impaired subsystem tends to produce dysfunctions in others. (d) The subsystems of language constitute vast overlapping networks rather than discrete modules. Since these findings, as predicated above, relate to cognitive architecture rather than cerebral localization, they are presently claimed to be relevant to both neurologically-oriented and non-neurologically-oriented mentalistic models of language. Chomsky, Noam. 1986. Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origin and Use. New York: Praeger. Grodzinsky, Yosef. 2002. Neurolinguistics and neuroimaging: Forward to the future, or is it back?. Psychological Science 13(4): 388-393. Kolers, Paul A. 1968. Bilingualism and information processing. Scientific American 218, 78-86. Lakoff, George. 1987. Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Paradis, Michel. 1989. Bilingual and polyglot aphasia, in Handbook of Neuropsychology, Vol. 2, eds. François Boller and Jordan Grafman. Amsterdam: Elsevier: 117-140. aradis, Michel. 2001. An integrated neurolinguistic theory of bilingualism (1976-2000). LACUS Forum 27: 5-15. Sévigny, Alexandre and Humphreys, Karin R. 2007. Linguistics and cognitive neuroscience: Friends, foes, or distant enemies?. LACUS Forum 33: 359-368.