In detail

Language production: how do we talk?

Language production: how do we talk?

When we get up in the morning, the first thing we usually do when we see another person is to say good morning. The behavior of saying good morning is no problem. Usually, it could be considered as the first sentence we say at the beginning of the day. From here, we begin to talk with each other (and with ourselves aloud). However, behind this behavior nothing misses us, nothing catches our attention, but why do we talk? That is to say, What brain mechanisms are involved in language production?

Language is so settled in our lives that we don't even consider how it is produced. We talk and talk without realizing that our brain is at full capacity. When we take a heavy bag we are aware of the effort, when we climb some stairs, we know that our whole body is moving, but When we talk, apart from moving our mouths, what happens in our brain? Although we don't feel anything inside our skull, our brain is working without us being fully aware of it. Let's get started!

The importance of language production

Language is essential to communicate with each other, both oral and written language. That is why the study of language production is so important. Thus, if we know the mechanisms that produce the language, we can help those who have problems and give them the best possible solutions. If we don't know what areas are involved, the help we can give will be poor or void. Therefore, scrutinizing the brain and finding out where this important work is taking place has proved to be one of the objectives of the scientific community.

The frontal lobe is involved in the production of language. In this lobe there are three areas that stand out above the others: the prefrontal cortex, the Broca area and the primary motor cortex. Undoubtedly, there are more areas and areas of the brain related to production, but broadly speaking, these three would consist of key points without which language would not be possible.

Frontal lobe and language production

The frontal lobe is key in language production. One of its main functions is the creation of different linguistic programs to, through these, initiate the action of the production of voluntary and organized language. Motivation at the beginning of speech is also one of its main functions. It is an important lobe in both oral and written language. Within this lobe, there are three important areas involved in language production: Broca area, prefrontal area and primary motor cortex.

Drill Area

The Bronca area is known for being involved in Broca's famous aphasia. It is a brain area located next to the primary motor area and at the bottom of the third left frontal gyrus. It corresponds to areas 44 and 45 of Brodmann. In the Broca area a part of the pars opercularis and of the pars trinagularis, which, as Etcheperaborda and López-Lázaro (2005) emphasize, are important in speech production.

The pars opercularis coordinates the organs that make up the phonatory apparatus for speech production. The triangular pars It is a zone of polymodal association and is responsible for programming verbal behaviors. The Broca area, mainly, organizes and prepares the different motor programs that will be carried out for the expression of both oral and written language. In the area of ​​Broca also coordinate and produce the temporal sequencing of movements necessary for articulation of speech and writing.

Prefrontal cortex

The prefrontal cortex highlights the anterior cingulate area (subcortical structure) and dorsolateral cortex. The prefrontal cortex stands out in the development of linguistic programs as well as in complex cognitive strategies. All this allows language in all its dimensions, that is, intention and motivation to communicate verbally, both orally or in writing.

The prefrontal cortex develops a global plan when we want to communicate, both orally and in writing. This area of ​​the brain is involved in lexical recovery and adapts the message to the semantic content, that is, Look for the right words to the message and adapt them to what we want to convey. When the language program is already prepared and ready to be "broadcast", the supplementary motor area comes into play, as one of its functions is related to the beginning of speech.

Primary motor cortex

Once all plans have been generated, the primary motor cortex comes into play. These linguistic plans reach the musculature of the articular organs through the primary motor cortex, as well as through pyramidal and extrapyramidal motorways. The primary motor cortex is located just in the anterior part of the central fissure or Rolando.

When this area starts the bucofonatory movements for language production, involves different cranial nerves: facial (VII), glossopharyngeal (IX), lazy (X), accessory (XI) and hypogrous (XII). The first motor cortex also makes manual movements of writing possible.


Etchepareborda, M. and López-Lázaro, M. (2005). Cytoarchitectural structure of language areas. Journal of Neurology, 40(1), 103-106.