Use Your Words

The Wernicke's area is the language G-spot in your mind. It's the part of your brain that processes written and spoken language coming from outside your body (its counterpart, the Broca's area, is linked to your own speech production). The Wernicke's area is linked to how you understand, recognize, and interpret language and semantics. It normally looks like this:

Mine, however, when I'm listening to someone speak or reading a piece of writing, looks like this:

I should have majored in linguistics, probably, but at least in my current field, I'm able to come into contact with language and fellow language-lovers on a daily basis. It used to be that I wrote and edited because I was good at it and I knew all the rules. Now, I love digging into how language works and why it works, and lately I've been a lot looser about those restrictions. Language is a living, breathing, sacred, constantly evolving entity to me.

I have an issue with language. It affects every part of me -- my mood, my outlook, my muscular control. When anyone speaks or writes in a repetitive, cliched, uninteresting way, it makes me want to punch him or her a little, even more than when I spot a glaring comma error or a misspelling. But when someone uses language cleverly, be it with an unusual noun modifier, a large vocabulary, or an outdated expression ("everything's jake," "what's the rumpus?" etc.), it turns me on. Just reading the Wikipedia article about the Wernicke's area gave me a brain boner: "unimodal auditory association in the superior temporal gyrus anterior to the primary auditory cortex"?! I don't even know what that means, but can we make out? Give me those big, rarely used words, those complex-compound sentences, baby. Use a gnarly bit of slang in an otherwise prim and proper sentence. Put two mismatched words together. Give me a synecdoche, a hysteron-proteron, a zeugma. Yoda, speak like. Whatever, just get creative with what comes out of your face!

Is my Wernicke's area simply overactive, or does language have a similar effect on you?

1 comment:

  1. You should not have majored in linguistics. I speak from experience.


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