Thursday, July 12, 2012

Human Language and Consciousness

Produced and understood by the Broca and Wernicke areas of the cerebral cortex, the human language is unique in possessing semantic universality, or the capacity to produce unlimited numbers of novel messages in the form of sentences, withouth loss of informational efficiency. Not only does human language have unrestricted power of productivity, but also gives a cultural structure or form to our consciousness. One of the most important means of achieving this productivity is the arbitrariness of the elements that convey the information; however, there must be repetitive syntactic patterns or rules for a group of words to be universally understood by all the members of one group of humans; whithout syntax and semantics, there would chaos and darkness. And it is the frontal lobe, which is the integration center of the brain and in which the Borca area is located, which produces and gives sense and meaning to these syntactical patterns. The important brain connection or link between meaning (semantics) and patterned language production (syntax) is the arcuate fasciculus.

Another important component in the achievement of semantic universality is duality of patterning. This refers to the use of arbitrary code elements in different combinations to produce different messages. The basic code elements of human languages are the phonemes, or classes of contrastive phones, which are the smallest speech units used to make up a word, such as "b" to form the word "bat". The ability to send and receive messages in a human language depends on the human group sharing of rules for combining phonemes (letters) into morphemes (words) and these into syntactically built-up sentences.