In this study, we compare regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) while French monolingual subjects listen to continuous speech in an unknown language, to lists of French words, or to meaningful and distorted stories in French. Our results show that, in addition to regions devoted to single-word comprehension, processing of meaningful stories activates the left middle temporal gyrus, the left and right temporal poles, and a superior prefrontal area in the left frontal lobe. Among these regions, only the temporal poles remain activated whenever sentences with acceptable syntax and prosody are presented.

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