Neurobiological models of receptive language have focused on the left-hemisphere perisylvian cortex with the assumption that the cerebellum supports peri-linguistic cognitive processes such as verbal working memory. The goal of this study was to identify language-sensitive regions of the cerebellum then map the structural connectivity profile of these regions. Functional imaging data and diffusion-weighted imaging data from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) were analyzed. We found that (a) working memory, motor activity, and language comprehension activated partially overlapping but mostly unique subregions of the cerebellum; (b) the linguistic portion of the cerebello-thalamo-cortical circuit was more extensive than the linguistic portion of the cortico-ponto-cerebellar tract; (c) there was a frontal-lobe bias in the connectivity from the cerebellum to the cerebrum; (d) there was some degree of specificity; and (e) for some cerebellar tracts, individual differences in picture identification ability covaried with fractional anisotropy metrics. These findings yield insights into the structural connectivity of the cerebellum as relates to the uniquely human process of language comprehension.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Handling Editor: Julie Fiez