©Arlene R. Taylor PhD

altA whole-brained use of language requires (no surprise) use of the whole brain. Each cerebral division is believed to contribute functions that, when taken together, handle most aspects of language. Individuals may, however, exhibit a greater facility with specific aspects of language based on their brain’s own innate energy advantage.

Following are examples of functions thought to be contributed by each cerebral division.

altPrioritizing Division

altEnvisioning Division


  • Spoken language in Broca’s Area
  • Language structure (e.g., grammar, syntax)
  • Literal meaning of words
  • Focus on a single and/or the precise meaning for a specific word
  • Interested in syntax and the best choice of word(s) 
  • Laughter, a sound believed produced in Broca’s Area
  • Word play (e.g., wit)
  • Grammar of native and non-native languages


  • Gestured language (e.g., tears, pointing, waving, body position, American Sign Language gestures)
  • Context and related appropriateness, global view 
  • Focus on metaphoric or symbolic meanings 
  • Sensing multiple meanings
  • Innuendo
  • Prosody (irony, sarcasm)
  • A sense of humor (often off-the-wall, or bizarre)


altMaintaining Division

altHarmonizing Division


  • Written language
  • Heard language and the decoding of speech sounds in Wernicke’s Center (including decoding of gestures related to American Sign Lanuage)
  • Language form:
    • Punctuation
    • Spelling
    • Sentences
  • Labels for speech forms (e.g., noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition)
  • Learning to speak native language(s)


  • Emotional language
  • Affective speech
  • Sensitivity to the music and color of speech:
    • Rhythm
    • Rhyme
    • Speed and volume
    • Voice inflection (the music of speech)
  • Reading nonverbal body language
  • Learning to speak native language(s)
  • Learning to speak a non-native language after about the age of 9 or 10