The main task of Broca’s area is to generate meaningful language so that the person can be speak sensibly and fluently. The Wernicke’s area is responsible for understanding the statements made by the speaker. It is essentially involved in language processing. The following Bodytomy post gives a comparison between the two.
Did You Know?
Broca’s area, the speech production unit of the brain, also helps in expressing thoughts into words.
The human brain that houses more than 100 billion neurons, is the most complex organ of our body. It has complete control over various bodily functions. The brain is divided into different areas or regions that execute specific tasks of the body. There are areas of the brain that analyze what is being spoken as well assist in articulate speech production. They are discussed below:
The Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, that contain motor neurons, are the language processing units of the brain that help in understanding language as well as allow us to communicate properly. These are the language centers of the brain, and their proper functioning is very important to comprehend and speak any language.
Both areas are connected to each other by arcuate fasciculus―a bundle of nerves―in which information processed from Wernicke’s area is relayed to Broca’s area. Let us try to understand more on the difference between these two regions of the brain.
Broca’s Area Vs. Wernicke’s Area
♦ The function of Broca’s area is to ensure that the speech is articulate, which can be understood by the listener.
♦ Comprehending what the speaker has said is the primary task of Wernicke’s area. It is involved in processing and interpreting the language received from the speaker. In simple words, the complex task of speech comprehension is done by the Wernicke’s area.
♦ Broca’s area is located in the left frontal lobe, in close proximity of primary motor cortex.
♦ Wernicke’s area sits in the left temporal lobe, very close to the auditory cortex―the area involved in hearing. The auditory cortex sends it output to wernicke’s area.
♦ We can speak properly in a meaningful manner only when the Broca’s area is functioning properly. Speaking the right words that make sense at that moment of time is the major task of this portion of the brain.
♦ The Wernicke’s area is responsible for making us understand the language that is heard. It essentially allows us to grasp the statements made by the speaker.
♦ Known as Broca’s aphasia, in this condition the patient is unable to speak fluently. In simple words, he finds it difficult to communicate verbally or through writing. So despite being aware of what has to be conveyed, the patient is unable to express himself. He/She speaks meaningfully, but in a start-and-stop manner; however, many times, their statements have a lot of grammatical errors. The speech is slow, halting, with long pauses between words.
♦ Known as Wernicke’s aphasia, in this condition the patient can speak fluently, but is unable to understand the meaning of spoken words. The patient simply cannot comprehend the statement made by the speaker. So, even if the language of the speaker is audible, the patient is not in a position to understand it. Also, even if the patient’s speech is articulate, it hardly makes any sense to the listener. The writing skills are also poor.
♦ The output of Broca’s area (that generates articulate speech) is passed down to motor cortex, which regulates the movement of lips and tongue. The tongue and lip movements are coordinated as per the input given by the Broca’a area to the motor cortex.
♦ The output of Wernicke’s area (involved in language processing) goes to Broca’s area. So, the speech generated is in sync with the output of Wernicke’s area. In short, the production of speech will be in context with the input provided by Wernicke’s area.