The unnoticed contributions of the cerebellum to language

Folia Phoniatr Logop. 2007;59(4):171-6. doi: 10.1159/000102928.


Background: In addition to its well-known role in motor processing, the cerebellum has been shown to contribute to a number of nonmotor cognitive abilities. However, despite (1) the acknowledged demonstration of the motor, perceptual and cognitive contributions of the cerebellum and (2) the growing number of neuroimaging studies allowing for the exploration of the neurobiological bases of language abilities, only a small number of neuroimaging studies focus on the cerebellar contribution to language.

Aims: To look for unreported cerebellar activations in the neuroimaging literature for language, in order to systematically describe the unreported or otherwise unnoticed cerebellar activations associated with language tasks.

Methods: A recent review paper by Démonet et al. [Physiol Rev 2005;85:49-95] was used as a base in order to investigate the literature on the neuroimaging of language abilities.

Results: Of the 450 papers cited in this review, 100 articles were directly related to single-word processing, of which only 34 reported cerebellum activations.

Conclusion: The full integration of the cerebellum in the network allowing for language and communication is still to come, as very few neuroimaging studies do report cerebellar activations underlying the processing of words.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Language*