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Broca’s area is frequently implicated in sentence comprehension but its specific role is debated. Most lesion studies have investigated deficits at the chronic stage. We aimed (1) to use acute imaging to predict which left hemisphere stroke patients will recover sentence comprehension; and (2) to better understand the role of Broca’s area in sentence comprehension by investigating acute deficits prior to functional reorganization. We assessed comprehension of canonical and noncanonical sentences in 15 patients with left hemisphere stroke at acute and chronic stages. LASSO regression was used to conduct lesion symptom mapping analyses. Patients with more severe word-level comprehension deficits and a greater proportion of damage to supramarginal gyrus and superior longitudinal fasciculus were likely to experience acute deficits prior to functional reorganization. Broca’s area was only implicated in chronic deficits. We propose that when temporoparietal regions are damaged, intact Broca’s area can support syntactic processing after functional reorganization occurs.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Brain and Language. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Brain and Language, volume 225, in 2022.

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