All About Broca's Area in the Brain

Broca's Area, Wernicke's Area
This digital illustration of a head in profile shows the bundle of nerve fibers (green) that connect Broca's area (purple) and Wernicke's area (orange) in human brain. These brain areas are important for speech and language comprehension. Credit: Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Broca's Area

Broca's area is one of the main areas of the cerebral cortex responsible for producing language. This region of the brain was named for French neurosurgeon Paul Broca who discovered the function of this area while examining the brains of patients with language difficulties.

Broca's area is found in the forebrain division of the brain. Directionally, Broca's area is located in the lower portion of the left frontal lobe, and it controls motor functions involved with speech production.

Persons with damage to Broca's area of the brain can understand language but cannot properly form words or speak fluently. Broca's area is connected to another brain region known as Wernicke's area. Wernicke's area is associated with processing and understanding language.

Function

Broca's area is involved in several functions of the body including:

  • Speech Production
  • Facial Neuron Control
  • Language Processing

Language Processing

Speech and language processing are complex functions of the brain. There are several brain areas that play a vital role in speech and language comprehension. Broca's area helps us to accurately communicate our ideas to others through speech. It is also involved in language comprehension. Broca's area is connected to another language area of the brain known as Wernicke's area via a group of nerve fiber bundles called the arcuate fasciculus. Wernicke's area, located in the temporal lobe, processes both written and spoken language.

Another brain area associated with language is called the angular gyrus. This area receives touch sensory information from the parietal lobe, visual information from the occipital lobe, and auditory information from the temporal lobe. The angular gyrus helps us utilize different types of sensory information to comprehend language.

Broca's Aphasia

Damage to Broca's area of the brain results in a condition called Broca's aphasia. People with Broca's aphasia have difficulty with speech production. Their speech is slow, not grammatically correct, and consists primarily of simple words. These individuals understand language but have a difficult time articulating and communicating ideas verbally. Damage to the nerve fibers that connect Broca's area to Wernicke's area results in a condition called conduction aphasia. These individuals have difficulty repeating words or phrases properly but are able to comprehend language and speak coherently.