Past issues

2012-2Langage et Cerveau
(Language and the brain)
Click the book to abstract!This issue has been put on line in its integrality on the Cairn portal:
  • Présentation. Langage et cerveau
    (Presentation. Language and the brain)
  • Jean-François DÉMONET & Samuel PLANTON (Université de Lausanne / INSERM Toulouse)
    Langage et cerveau : vingt ans d’imagerie fonctionnelle
    (Language and the brain : twenty years of functional brain imaging)
    pp. 9-18

    The immense amount of brain imaging data that have accumulated over the 20 past years relating to language functions and brain activities/structures now make it possible to realize meta-analyses so that main trends of structure-function relationships can be outlined. While the bedrock of knowledge built upon the early studies of aphasia has not been disproven by brain imaging studies, the latter yielded refined insights on the functions of some specific parts of the cortical regions that support language abilities such as the main structure involved in speech production and comprehension, reading, or those supporting phonological, lexical semantic and syntactical processes. However, technical limitations of brain imaging, especially its relatively bad signal-to-noise ratio, as well as the number of factors, amongst which unknown ones, that account for the inter-individual variability in neural responses to a given task or stimulus type, make analyses at the individual level still a challenge. It may be that the quest of brain images of language will remain an infinite one just as the study of language itself.

  • Sophie DE GUIRE OUELLET, Alban LETANNEUX, Maud CHAMPAGNE-LAVAU & Serge PINTO (Université d’Aix-Marseille / Aix-Marseille)
    Parole et langage dans la maladie de Parkinson : études en neuro-imagerie fonctionnelle
    (Language and Speech in Parkinson’s disease: studies in functional neuro-imaging)
    pp. 19-31

    Motor speech impairments are often present in movement disorders. Our aim in the current review is to present an overview of studies carried out in functional neuroimaging and assessing speech and language in Parkinson's disease. The overall results lead us to consider the existence of "functional pathophysiologies" dependent on function: brain activation profiles imply specific compensatory recruitments that are driven either by the motoric nature itself or the activation deficits related to the pathology. The variety of methodologies used, the small number of patients studied and the non-homogenous therapeutic conditions still make it difficult to compare the listed studies.

  • Guillaume THIERRY & Eirini SANOUDAKI (Bangor University (UK))
    Activation syntaxique non-sélective à la langue chez le bilingue précoce
    (Non selective lexical access in early bilinguals)
    pp. 33-48

    It is now widely accepted that lexical access is language non-selective in bilinguals. However, in the domain of syntax, it is much less clear whether such non-selectivity applies. Observational production studies have highlighted many instances of syntactic borrowing between languages in bilingual children and such borrowings tend to remain in adulthood. In the present study, we have tested for the first time whether such syntactic co-activation effects also exist in comprehension, in the case of early fluent bilinguals. We used event-related potentials in conjunction with a binary decision paradigm known to elicit modulations of the N2 component to show that Welsh-English bilingual participants are prepared to accept an adjective in post-nominal position in an English sentence despite the fact such word order is illegal in English. This effect, which was not found in English monolingual participants, can be interpreted as the consequence of Welsh grammar activation because the adjective is in post-nominal position in Welsh. Our results allow us to conclude that syntactic activation is language non-selective during reading in early bilinguals.

  • Déborah MÉLIGNE (INSERM Toulouse)
    Potentiels évoqués et accès aux représentations lexico-sémantiques de mots perçus de façon non consciente
    (ERPs and lexical access for target words and related prime words vs unrelated prime words)
    pp. 49-63

    Numerous studies have shown that the processing of a target word can be influenced by the nature of its relationship with a preceding prime word (target word’s processing being facilitated when it is related to the prime). In this study, we assessed the question of whether it is also possible to observe such priming effects even when subjects are unaware of the relationship, or even the presence of the prime itself. Secondly we compared different types of words to explore possible processing differences depending on grammatical and/or semantic classes. We expected to show a facilitation for treatment of the word when it is preceded by an identical one (whereas when both were different no facilitation could be observed), meaning that semantic processing is automatic. Moreover, if we observe any differences between nouns, action- and cognition-related verbs it could reflect a different cerebral organization according to grammatical and/or semantic characteristics.

  • Yves CHAIX, Isabelle BARRY & Karine DUVIGNAU (Toulouse)
    Semantic approximation in SLI and normal development
    pp. 65-76

    Children in the course of lexical development frequently produce non-conventional utterances containing verbs (such as “to kill a tomato”). Most studies consider these utterances as errors, rather than approximations that demonstrate a child’s semantic flexibility and ability to use imprecise but meaningful language in order to compensate for a lack of vocabulary. In this study, we show that children with specific language impairment (SLI) produce semantic approximations more frequently than non-impaired children. This result shows that study of non conventional productions gives a new light on the lexical profiles of children with SLI and revealing their ability to compensate for lexical difficulties.

  • Virginie LAVAL, Sandrine LE SOURN-BISSAOUI, Pauline GIRARD, Claire CHEVREUIL & Marc AGUERT (Université de Poitiers / Université Rennes 2 / CHGR Rennes / Université de Caen)
    Prosodie émotionnelle et compréhension des actes de langage expressifs chez des enfants et adolescents avec un Trouble du Spectre Autistique
    (Emotional prosody and understanding of expressive language acts with children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders)
    pp. 77-88

    The objective of this research is to study the role of emotional prosody in expressive language acts understanding by children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Twenty-six children and adolescents with ASD and twenty-six typically developing controls performed a computerized task featuring emotional prosody, either embedded in a discrepant context or without any context at all. The experimental  task was to determine the emotional state of the speaker. When the prosody was embedded in a discrepant context, they relied less on the emotional prosody than the controls, but only when it was positive. We discuss these findings with respect to executive and inferential deficits presents in ASD.

  • Maud CHAMPAGNE-LAVAU, Laura MONETTA & Noémie MOREAU (Université d’Aix-Marseille / Université Laval (Québec) / Centre hospitalier du Pays d'Aix)
    Impact of educational level on metaphor processing in older adults
    pp. 89-100

    The ability to understand non-literal language is an essential component of daily language use and an impairment of this ability could have an impact on individual social life.  However, very few studies have examined how the educational level affects this ability in older adults. Understanding metaphors, like many other non-literal language processes, produces an apparent need to go beyond what is literally stated in order to apprehend speakers’ communicative intent and, consequently, the meanings of utterances. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of educational level on metaphor understanding in older adults. Older right-handed participants were evaluated using a semantic priming paradigm. The results revealed that the participants’ educational level plays an important part in metaphor processing.

  • Joël MACOIR, Marion FOSSARD & Noémie AUCLAIR OUELLET (Université Laval (Québec) / Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse) / Institut en santé mentale de Québec)
    Les troubles morphologiques flexionnels dans la maladie de Parkinson : origine procédurale et/ou exécutive ?
    (Is impairment of inflectional morphological processes with Parkinson’s patients procedural or executive or both ?)
    pp. 101-115

    Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative neurological condition characterized by motor deficits but also by cognitive deficits affecting working memory, declarative memory and attentional capacities. With respect to language, the disease is also marked by the impairment of inflectional morphological processes. In this article, we present and discuss the respective supports to the procedural and executive functional origin of inflectional morphology impairment in Parkinson's disease. We also report the results from a recent study, conducted with 15 individuals with PD, suggesting a contribution, non-exclusive to language, of basal ganglia to executive processes involved in inflectional morphology.

  • Catherine SAGOT, Thi Mai TRAN & Jérémie PARIENTE (CHU de Toulouse / Institut d’Orthophonie de Lille / CHU de Toulouse)
    Développement d'une batterie francophone pour l'évaluation des troubles du langage dans les maladies neurodégénératives : 10 ans de recherche sur les aphasies primaires progressives
    (Development of a French battery specific for the assessment of language impairment in neurodegenerative diseases : 10 years of research on Primary Progressive Aphasia)
    pp. 117-133

    Neurological language problems may be the initial symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases. If these symptoms stay on for more than two years, they are considered as indications for  Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA). Since Mesulam's publication in 2001, new classifications for PPA syndrome were obtained after clinical, radiological and pathophysiological findings. The aim of this paper is to review the recent literature regarding PPA, and by extension aphasia in neurodegenerative diseases. We will explain how the analysis of this literature has led us to build a French battery specific for the assessment  of language impairment in neurodegenerative diseases.

Book reviews
  • Parcours d’évaluation, d’apprentissage et d’enseignement à travers le CECR, de E. Piccardo, M. Berchoud, T. Cignatta, O. Mentz & M. Pamula
    par L. Verstraete-Hansen
    pp. 134-135