Hemispheric specialization of language: an EEG study of bilingual Hopi indian children

Int J Neurosci. 1977;8(1):1-6. doi: 10.3109/00207457709150368.


Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings were obtained from electrode placements over the left and right frontal and parietal lobes of the brain in sixteen Hopi Indian children listening to tape recorded children's stories in the Hopi and English languages. Spectral analysis of the EEG data revealed that, for the parietal leads, alpha desynchronization was relatively greater over the right hemisphere for listening to Hopi than for listening to English, which indicates a greater right hemisphere participation in the processing of the Hopi speech. The results of the experiment are directionally consistent with our hypothesis, and imply that linguistic relativity may exist on a neurolinguistic level, such that languages can differ in the relative degree to which they serve as instruments of thought in a propositional, left hemisphere mode, or in an appositional, right hemisphere mode.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Arizona
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Child
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Language*
  • Speech Perception / physiology*