We investigated, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), whether semantic discrimination, an inner linguistic task without overt articulation, can elicit activation in the cerebellum. Six subjects performed three semantic tasks with different loads of discrimination while being scanned. All three semantic tasks activated distributed brain areas, including the right posterior inferior cerebellum. Much stronger activation was found in the cerebellum in more difficult tasks, in terms of the activation volume and signal intensity. These results suggest that the cerebellum activation is involved in semantic discrimination and is modulated by discrimination difficulty. Hum. Brain Mapping 18:208–214, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.