Strata in Neurocognitive Perspective

Strata in Systemic Functional Linguistics - Levels, Layers, Planes, Domains - Elissa D. Asp

Elissa D. Asp [+-]
Saint Mary's University
Elissa D. Asp is Professor of English and Linguistics, and Coordinator of Linguistics at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, NS. She was educated at Glendon College and York University in Toronto, where she specialized in linguistic description of discourse and linguistic theory. She is interested in functional and formal theories of language and developing models that elucidate language processing in context. Ongoing research addresses three main areas: (1) language and discourse correlates of dementias, especially neurodegenerative diseases associated with ageing; (2) MEG studies of neurocognitive networks supporting language and discourse processing; (3) theoretical implications of these studies for models of language.


This chapter reviews evidence that suggests current and on-going relevance of stratal perspectives for understanding neurocognition but also highlights research which suggests revisions to stratal models. Stratified perspectives appear at the heart of many neuroscience models of speech processing and are at least partially supported by evidences from neurostructural damage and neurophysiologyical evidences derived from imaging. However, neurophysiological evidence also suggests that brains are, in some ways, less ‘tidy’ in their activity patterns than the elegant models we make. They allow both feedback and feed forward activity and even formerly ‘unimodal’ sensory areas allow input from networks associated with other modalities. So, for example, motor representations of articulation may support auditory decoding, auditory perception may be influenced by visual stimuli and so on. SFL as a stratified systems model – where selections on one stratum predict or activate selections on adjacent strata – may be particularly valuable in research investigating such ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ modulations in hierarchical generative paradigms for speech and discourse production and comprehension.

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Asp, Elissa. Strata in Neurocognitive Perspective. Strata in Systemic Functional Linguistics - Levels, Layers, Planes, Domains. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Mar 2022. ISBN 9781781797303. Date accessed: 25 Sep 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35446. Mar 2022

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