“Bend your ear.” “Grasping at straws.” “Kick the bucket.” English is filled with figurative language that makes meaning by evoking physical actions of the human body.

During the past decade, a number of scientific studies have shown that brain regions thought to only be responsible for physical movements are also involved in our linguistic abilities. For example, injuries to the sensorimotor cortex will also impact comprehension of action verbs related to that same area. Thus, a stroke survivor who has limited hand movement is also less likely able to identify or name hand-related verbs, such as “handle” or “grasp.”

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