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Disorders in language can be characterized as expressive (difficulty forming words and sentences) or receptive (difficulty comprehending language) and are often assessed during childhood or adolescence. Advances in neuroscience, as well as psycholinguistics, have increased the current understanding of various language disorders. This entry discusses several neurocognitive disorders and methods for assessment.

Neuroscience Approach to Expressive and Receptive Disorders

The most contemporary identification of a specific language disorder may be attributed to a patient of French neurologist Paul Broca (1824–1880). Broca’s patient was able to utter a single word, “Tan,” and a postmortem evaluation resulted in the identification of a lesion in the left prefrontal cortex of the brain. The area corresponding with the lesion became known as Broca’s area, and expressive language deficits are referred ...

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