Linguistics 105 * Words and Sounds
Lecture Number Fifteen
Aphasic Speech Disorders


  1. The Classic Theory of Aphasia

    1. The Major Language Processors are located in the area of the left cerebral cortex:

      1. the anterior or "Broca's" area
      2. the posterior or "Wernicke's" area
      3. the Angular Gyrus

    2. Grammatical Failure and the Language Processors

      1. Broca's area: agrammatism also "nonfluent" speech because of the cooccurrence of dysprosody, the loss of control of intonation, which lends language the semblance of fluency.

        1. the omission or confused usage of "function words", i.e. conjunctions, prepositions, articles, pronouns, auxiliaries and copulas;
        2. the loss or confusion of verb, noun and adjective inflection with frequent reversion to the unmarked form, e.g. verbal infinitive, nominative singular of nouns;
        3. a reduction in the occurrence of verbs in comparison to nouns or the nominalization of verbs in some forms of agrammatic speech;
        4. omission of arguments, e.g. subject and direct object, and disordering of syntactic constituents. Agrammatic patients exhibit little difficulty in accessing lexemes, i.e. (V,) N, Adj, Adv, but omit or find great difficulty in deploying grammatical functors (grammatical morphemes).
        5. Schwartz, Linebarger & Saffran (1985) provide this example of an agrammatic aphasic (M.E.) attempting to tell the story of Cinderella.

          Agrammatic Aphasic Speech

          M.E. Cinderella...poor...um 'dopted her...scrubbed floor, um, tidy...poor, um...'dopted...Si-sisters and mother...ball. Ball, prince um, shoe...

          Examiner Keep going.

          M.E. Scrubbed and uh washed and un...tidy, uh, sisters and mother, prince, no, prince, yes. Cinderella hooked prince. (Laughs.) Um, um, shoes, um, twelve o'clock ball /pnόt/, finished.

          Examiner So what happened in the end?

          M.E. Married.

          Examiner How does he find her?

          M.E. Um, Prince, um, happen to, um...Prince, and Cinderalla meet, um met um met.

          Examiner What happened at the ball? They didn't get married at the ball.

          M.E.No, um, no...I don't know. Shoe, um found shoe...

      2. Wernicke's area: Sensory aphasia is difficulty in recalling lexical bases. Sensory aphasic speech is a normally intoned stream of grammatical markers, pronouns, prepositions, articles and auxiliaries, that is, in contentless sentences.

        1. recall of lexical items related or unrelated to target lexemes
        2. create nonsense neologisms (paraphasia);
        3. difficulty in retrieving nouns (anomia).
        4. Buckingham (1981) provides the following example of a sensory aphasic (C.B.) attempting to explain a picture of a child taking a cookie as a woman spills water elsewhere in the picture.

          Sensory Aphasic Speech

          C.B. Uh, well this is the ... the /dødøü/ of this. This and this and this and this. These things going in there like that. This is /sen/ things here. This one here, these two things here. And the other one here, back in this one, this one /g/ look at this one.

          Examiner Yeah, what's happening there?

          C.B. I can't tell you what that is, but I know what it is, but I don't now where it is. But I don't know what's under. I know it's you couldn't say it's ... I couldn't say what it is. I couldn't say what that is. This shu-- that should be right in here. That's /bêÏli/ bad in there. Anyway, this one here, and that, and that's it. This is the getting in here and that's the getting around here, and that, and that's it. This is getting in here and that's the getting around here, this one and one with this one. And this one, and that's it, isn't it? I don't know what else you'd want.


  2. Conclusion

    Neurolinguistics provides us with a means of testing linguistic theories by associating certain linguistic components with known language areas of the cerebral cortex. Linguistic models hypothesize the existence of certain grammatical components. The capacities predicted by such a component should operate but also fail all at the same time and independent of those projected from other components. Research on the healthy brain gives us insight into the capacities of language areas; aphasiology tells us which areas of the speech facility are incapacitated simultaneously and which, independently.

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