Early language experience shapes language pathways

The long-distance connections between language regions are crucial for language processing, but how do these language pathways get established in the first place? Are they biologically pre-programmed, or are they shaped by early language experience?

In the current study, using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), we examined the connectivity of several language pathways among late L1 learners who suffered from severe early language deprivation. We found decreased connectivity in left arcuate fasciculus, a fiber bundle connecting Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area.


Cheng, Q., Halgren, E., & Mayberry, R.I. (2018). Effects of early language deprivation: Mapping between anatomical and behavioral outcomes. BUCLD 42 Proceedings. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. [lingref]

Cheng, Q., Halgren, E., & Mayberry, R. (2017, Nov). Language pathway development requires childhood language acquisition: Effects of sensorimotor modality and language deprivation on brain connectivity for language. Poster presentation at the 9th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language, Baltimore, MD. [poster]