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Variables and Mechanisms Affecting Response to Language Treatment in Multilingual People with Aphasia

Goral, Mira; Lerman, Aviva
BACKGROUND:Despite substantial literature exploring language treatment effects in multilingual people with aphasia (PWA), inconsistent results reported across studies make it difficult to draw firm conclusions. METHODS:We highlight and illustrate variables that have been implicated in affecting cross-language treatment effects in multilingual PWA. MAIN CONTRIBUTION/RESULTS:We argue that opposing effects of activation and inhibition across languages, influenced by pertinent variables, such as age of language acquisition, patterns of language use, and treatment-related factors, contribute to the complex picture that has emerged from current studies of treatment in multilingual PWA. We propose a new integrated model-Treatment Effects in Aphasia in Multilingual people (the TEAM model)-to capture this complexity.
PMID: 32971777
ISSN: 2076-328x
CID: 4605942

Variation in language mixing in multilingual aphasia

Goral, Mira; Norvik, Monica; Jensen, BÃ¥rd Uri
Mixing languages within a sentence or a conversation is a common practice among many speakers of multiple languages. Language mixing found in multilingual speakers with aphasia has been suggested to reflect deficits associated with the brain lesion. In this paper, we examine language mixing behaviour in multilingual people with aphasia to test the hypothesis that the use of language mixing reflects a communicative strategy. We analysed connected language production elicited from 11 individuals with aphasia. Words produced were coded as mixed or not. Frequencies of mixing were tabulated for each individual in each of her or his languages in each of two elicitation tasks (Picture sequence description, Narrative production). We tested the predictions that there would be more word mixing: for participants with greater aphasia severity; while speaking in a language of lower post-stroke proficiency; during a task that requires more restricted word retrieval; for people with non-fluent aphasia, while attempting to produce function words (compared to content words); and that there would be little use of a language not known to the interlocutors. The results supported three of the five predictions. We interpret our data to suggest that multilingual speakers with aphasia mix words in connected language production primarily to bypass instances of word-retrieval difficulties, and typically avoid pragmatically inappropriate language mixing.
PMID: 30836773
ISSN: 1464-5076
CID: 3723002

What Influences Language Impairment in Bilingual Aphasia? A Meta-Analytic Review

Kuzmina, Ekaterina; Goral, Mira; Norvik, Monica; Weekes, Brendan S
Patterns of language impairment in multilingual speakers with post-stroke aphasia are diverse: in some cases the language deficits are parallel, that is, all languages are impaired relatively equally, whereas in other cases deficits are differential, that is, one language is more impaired than the other(s). This diversity stems from the intricate structure of the multilingual language system, which is shaped by a complex interplay of influencing factors, such as age of language acquisition, frequency of language use, premorbid proficiency, and linguistic similarity between one's languages. Previous theoretical reviews and empirical studies shed some light on these factors, however no clear answers have been provided. The goals of this review were to provide a timely update on the increasing number of reported cases in the last decade and to offer a systematic analysis of the potentially influencing variables. One hundred and thirty cases from 65 studies were included in the present systematic review and effect sizes from 119 cases were used in the meta-analysis. Our analysis revealed better performance in L1 compared to L2 in the whole sample of bilingual speakers with post-stroke aphasia. However, the magnitude of this difference was influenced by whether L2 was learned early in childhood or later: those who learned L2 before 7 years of age showed comparable performance in both of their languages contrary to the bilinguals who learned L2 after 7 years of age and showed better performance in L1 compared to L2. These robust findings were moderated mildly by premorbid proficiency and frequency of use. Finally, linguistic similarity did not appear to influence the magnitude of the difference in performance between L1 and L2. Our findings from the early bilingual subgroup were in line with the previous reviews which included mostly balanced early bilinguals performing comparably in both languages. Our findings from the late bilingual subgroup stressed the primacy of L1 and the importance of age of L2 learning. In addition, the evidence from the present review provides support for theories emphasizing the role of premorbid proficiency and language use in language impairment patterns in bilingual aphasia.
PMID: 31024369
ISSN: 1664-1078
CID: 4096882

Language mixing patterns in a bilingual individual with non-fluent aphasia

Lerman, Aviva; Pazuelo, Lia; Kizner, Lian; Borodkin, Katy; Goral, Mira
Background/UNASSIGNED:Language mixing in bilingual speakers with aphasia has been reported in a number of research studies, but the reasons for the mixing and whether it reflects typical or atypical behaviour has been a matter of debate. Aims/UNASSIGNED:In this study we tested the hypothesis that language mixing behaviour in bilingual aphasia reflects lexical retrieval difficulty. Methods & procedures/UNASSIGNED:We recruited a Hebrew-English bilingual participant with mild-moderate non-fluent agrammatic aphasia and assessed his languages at three timepoints. We analysed the participant's Hebrew and English production for retrieval during single-word naming, sentences, and discourse, and identified all instances of language mixing. Outcomes & Results/UNASSIGNED:We found that there was a greater frequency of language mixing during production of more difficult lexical items, namely the post-morbidly less proficient language (compared to the more proficient language), function words (compared to content words), and single-word naming (compared to retrieval in the context of connected speech tasks), but not for verbs (compared to nouns). Conclusions/UNASSIGNED:In this bilingual participant with non-fluent aphasia, language mixing behaviour closely resembles lexical retrieval difficulty. Thus, we suggest that bilingual speakers with aphasia may mix their languages as a strategy to maximise communication.
PMID: 31602085
ISSN: 0268-7038
CID: 4130112

Response Time Inconsistencies in Object and Action Naming in Anomic Aphasia

Galletta, Elizabeth E; Goral, Mira
Purpose/UNASSIGNED:The effect of repeated naming on both object and action picture naming in individuals with anomic aphasia is explored. We asked whether repeatedly naming the same items leads to improved accuracy and reduced response latency. Method/UNASSIGNED:Ten individuals with anomic aphasia and 6 healthy adults, 3 young and 3 old, named a set of 27 object pictures and a set of 27 action pictures presented 1 at a time on a computer screen. We examined accuracy and response times (RTs) across the 2 blocks of 10 repeated trials. Results/UNASSIGNED:Results demonstrated higher accuracy and faster RTs for object than for action naming for all participants, with lower accuracy rates and slower RTs for the people with aphasia (PWA) compared with the healthy individuals, and diverging patterns of change across trials. Unlike the healthy participants, whose RTs decreased across trials, PWA continued to demonstrate variability in response latencies across the trials. Conclusions/UNASSIGNED:Our preliminary results suggest that measuring RT may be useful in characterizing retrieval difficulty in anomic aphasia and that the retrieval processes in PWA, even in those who experience mild anomia, may be less efficient or different from those processes in neurologically healthy individuals.
PMID: 29497757
ISSN: 1558-9110
CID: 2966012

Speech and language production in Alzheimer's disease [Editorial]

Rochon, Elizabeth; Leonard, Carol; Goral, Mira
ISSN: 0268-7038
CID: 3630402

Word retrieval in connected speech in Alzheimer's disease: a review with meta-analyses [Review]

Kave, Gitit; Goral, Mira
Background: Language assessment in Alzheimer's disease (AD) demonstrates deficits in single-word production, but rarely includes connected speech.
ISSN: 0268-7038
CID: 3630412

What does constituent priming mean in the investigation of compound processing?

Libben, Gary; Goral, Mira; Baayen, R. Harald
Most dictionary definitions for the term compound word characterize it as a word that itself contains two or more words. Thus, a compound word such as goldfish is composed of the constituent words gold and fish. In this report, we present evidence that compound words such as goldfish might not contain the words gold and fish, but rather positionally bound compound constituents (e.g., gold- and -fish) that are distinct and often in competition with their whole word counterparts. This conceptualization has significant methodological consequences: it calls into question the assumption that, in a traditional visual constituent priming paradigm, the participant can be said to be presented with constituents as primes. We claim that they are not presented with constituents. Rather, they are presented with competing freestanding words. We present evidence for the processing of Hebrew compound words that supports this perspective by revealing that, counter-intuitively, prime constituent frequency has an attenuating effect on constituent priming. We relate our findings to previous findings in the study of German compound processing to show that the effect that we report is fundamentally morphological rather than positional or visual in nature. In contrast to German in which compounds are always head-final morphologically, Hebrew compounds are always head initial. In addition, whereas German compounds are written as single words, Hebrew compounds are always written with spaces between constituents. Thus, the commonality of patterning across German and Hebrew is independent of visual form and constituent ordering, revealing, as we claim, core features of the constituent priming paradigm and compound processing.
ISSN: 1871-1340
CID: 3630442

The role of language proficiency and linguistic distance in cross-linguistic treatment effects in aphasia

Conner, Peggy S; Goral, Mira; Anema, Inge; Borodkin, Katy; Haendler, Yair; Knoph, Monica; Mustelier, Carmen; Paluska, Elizabeth; Melnikova, Yana; Moeyaert, Mariola
Current findings from intervention in bilingual aphasia are inconclusive regarding the extent to which levels of language proficiency and degree of linguistic distance between treated and non-treated languages influence cross-language generalisation and changes in levels of language activation and inhibition following treatment. In this study, we enrolled a 65-year-old multilingual speaker with aphasia and administered treatment in his L1, Dutch. We assessed pre- and post-treatment performance for seven of his languages, five of high proficiency and two of lower proficiency. We asked whether treatment in L1 would generalise to his other languages or increase interference among them. Forty hours of treatment were completed over the course of five weeks. Each language was tested three times at pretreatment and at post-treatment. Testing included measures of narrative production, answering questions, picture description and question generation. Dependent measures examined language efficiency, defined as Correct Information Units (CIUs)/min, as well as language mixing, defined as proportion of code-mixed whole words. We found that our participant's improved efficiency in Dutch was mirrored by parallel improvement in the four languages of high proficiency: English, German, Italian and French. In contrast, in his languages of lower proficiency, Norwegian and Spanish, improved efficiency was limited. An increase in code-mixing was noted in Spanish, but not in Norwegian. We interpret the increased code-mixing in Spanish as indication of heightened inhibition following improvement in a language of close linguistic proximity, Italian. We conclude that an interaction of language proficiency and linguistic similarity affects cross-language generalisation following intervention in multilingual aphasia.
PMID: 29969313
ISSN: 1464-5076
CID: 3630682

Do age-related word retrieval difficulties appear (or disappear) in connected speech?

Kavé, Gitit; Goral, Mira
We conducted a comprehensive literature review of studies of word retrieval in connected speech in healthy aging and reviewed relevant aphasia research that could shed light on the aging literature. Four main hypotheses guided the review: (1) Significant retrieval difficulties would lead to reduced output in connected speech. (2) Significant retrieval difficulties would lead to a more limited lexical variety in connected speech. (3) Significant retrieval difficulties would lead to an increase in word substitution errors and in pronoun use as well as to greater dysfluency and hesitation in connected speech. (4) Retrieval difficulties on tests of single-word production would be associated with measures of word retrieval in connected speech. Studies on aging did not confirm these four hypotheses, unlike studies on aphasia that generally did. The review suggests that future research should investigate how context facilitates word production in old age.
PMID: 27583986
ISSN: 1744-4128
CID: 3630672