How do I improve my auditory memory

How does our brain make it possible to speak?

The speech act

Speech production takes place with the help of the larynx, tongue and lips. Not only the interaction of the corresponding muscles, but above all the sequence of movements is paramount for speaking. For example, while with the word “banana” only two sounds have to be formed for each of the three syllables, with the word “curse” there are already seven sounds for just one syllable. A part of the motor frontal lobe, the so-called operculum, takes over the monitoring of the sound production, taking into account the course and speed. Immediately in front of the operculum there are several other areas in the cerebral cortex, i.e. in the tortuous surface of the brain, that monitor speech production.

In the video about “reading and speaking” in the chapter on the cerebrum, you will get to know the following important areas of the brain: The Wernicke area for storing sound information, which is connected to the angular gyrus, and the Broca area for preparing sound .
The following video tells the story of neuropsychology that began with the discovery of the neurological basis of the speech act.


The speech sounds must be brought into a correct combination (syntax) according to the language habits. The further away these areas are from the operculum, the more overarching are the linguistic structures that are to be formed when the intention is to speak:

The speech melody. When speaking, the basic tone of the voice changes again and again. This makes the language melodic and can convey important information about intentions and feelings.

Sound units must be put together to sound sequences and these in turn should form syntactic units and result in a context of meaning (sentence).

The discovery that frontal areas in the left hemisphere of the brain monitor speech production was made by the neurologist Paul Broca in 1861-63 and is considered to be the birth of systematic neuropsychology. The operculum, together with the language area in front of it, is referred to as the “Broca area”.

An exciting question is how grammatical rules are anchored in the nerve networks of the frontal lobe. Because not only the arrangement of the speech sounds, but above all the word sequence must be done in such a way that what is meant is understood by other people. In the frontal lobe, the rules for articulation and for an understandable sentence structure must be available. They are mainly acquired in preschool age: "You are standing in the room, the ball is in the basket, the food is heavy in the stomach".

People who are confronted with statements such as “The cow was fed” initially react with surprise. There is a clear deflection in the brain wave image. Then hypotheses are generated as to how the sentence could be cured: Either ignore the “im” or add the word “stable”. For this purpose, a phrase memory is used, which was built up from sentences that are usually heard and which is located in the areas required for language understanding (see language understanding).

In return, the memory for articulation and syntax in the frontal lobe helps with language understanding. For example, if the preposition “im” suggests a certain place, the indistinctly spoken word “Basser” (instead of water) may be better understood. To understand sentences, conclusions or analogies must often be used. These services are carried out with the help of areas that are adjacent to the Broca area and that must be practiced independently of everyday language comprehension.

Injuries to Broca's area mean that the patient can no longer articulate clearly. In addition, they avoid using complicated sentences. When asked by a doctor whether a patient is being visited by his daughter today, the patient answers, for example: "Yes, Nammita" (for: "in the afternoon"). Since Broca patients' memory for word and sentence formation rules is impaired, they also have poor understanding of indistinct or quickly spoken sentences.

Tips for everyday speaking

The earlier the second language is acquired, the better the use of several languages. People differ in how much language is anchored in the brain and thus dominates thinking. The right hemisphere is often used as a language memory. But one should be careful not to think that the ability to express is a prerequisite for differentiated thinking. In particular, the ability to orientate oneself in space and to grasp shapes or procedures is not tied to language. Of course, thinking can be trained through the linguistic exchange of ideas. Understanding is always linked to whether one can do something with it. This aspect can also be used for more effective reading. You can skim through texts quickly and with greater knowledge if you search through the text based on a question you have formulated yourself beforehand or if you are looking for a very specific piece of information.
Speech errors are not an indication of errors in thinking. They usually arise due to inattentiveness or because several thoughts that urge expression compete with each other.

Book recommendations to deepen individual topics

On the role of syntax in communication.


Backgrounds on sign language and possibilities of expression in poems.


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This article was published on by brain-books in Speaking & Understanding. Keywords: speaking, speaking & understanding.