Single-word, sentence, and discourse comprehension in individuals with temporal lobe epilepsy
The purpose of this study was to systematically investigate language comprehension in individuals with left and
right temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) at different language levels— single word (noun and verb), sentence, and discourse.
Neither of the groupswith TLE showed difficulties with noun comprehension, whereas verb comprehension
performance was significantly lower in individuals with left, but not right TLE as compared to healthy
controls. In contrast, sentence and discourse comprehension was overall impaired, irrespective of the lateralization
of the epileptogenic focus. Education level and age at seizure onset were also found correlating with language
comprehension in our tested cohort. The results, firstly, confirm that the verb comprehension task is
more sensitive for assessment of single-word comprehension in individuals with TLE. Secondly, they indicate
that language comprehension in left and right TLE is mostly impaired at the sentence and discourse levels,
which may be associated with low working memory capacities.
Background: Agrammatic speakers have problems with grammatical encoding and decoding. However, not all syntactic processes are equally problematic: present time reference, who questions, and reflexives can be processed by narrow syntax alone and are relatively spared compared to past time reference, which questions, and personal pronouns, respectively. The latter need additional access to discourse and information structures to link to their referent outside the clause (Avrutin, 2006). Linguistic processing that requires discourse linking is difficult for agrammatic individuals: verb morphology with reference to the past is more difficult than with reference to the present (Bastiaanse et al., 2011). The same holds for which questions compared to who questions and for pronouns compared to reflexives (Avrutin, 2006). These results have been reported independently for different populations in different languages. The current study, for the first time, tested all conditions within the same population.
Aims: We had two aims with the current study. Firstly, we wanted to investigate whether discourse linking is the common denominator of the deficits in time reference, wh-questions, and object pronouns. Secondly, we aimed to compare the comprehension of discourse-linked elements in people with agrammatic and fluent aphasia, to define the degree of the discourse linking deficit specificity.
Methods & Procedures: Three sentence-picture-matching tasks were administered to 10 agrammatic, 10 fluent aphasic, and 10 non-brain-damaged Russian speakers (NBDs): (1) the Test for Assessing Reference of Time (TART) for present imperfect (reference to present) and past perfect (reference to past), (2) the Wh-Extraction Assessment Tool (WHEAT) for which and who subject questions, and (3) the Reflexive-Pronoun Test (RePro) for reflexive and pronominal reference.
Outcomes & Results: NBDs scored at ceiling and significantly higher than the aphasic participants. We found an overall effect of discourse linking in the TART and WHEAT for the agrammatic speakers, and in all three tests for the fluent speakers. Scores on the RePro were at ceiling.
Conclusions: The problems that individuals with agrammatic and fluent aphasia experience when comprehending sentences that contain verbs with past time reference, which question words and pronouns are caused by the fact that these elements need to involve operations at the discourse level. The effect is not specific to agrammatism, although might result from different underlying disorders in agrammatic and fluent aphasia.
The goal of the present study was to investigate speech comprehension in patients with left or right temporal epilepsy at three language levels: single words, sentences and discourse. According to the results, no difference was found between patients with temporal lobe epilepsy and healthy Russian speakers in single word comprehension. However, patients with temporal lobe epilepsy showed significant difficulties in sentence and discourse comprehension as compared to the control group, irrespective of lateralization of the epileptogenic focus. The two groups of patients did not differ in speech comprehension at any language level. The observed results may be related to the involvement of both temporal lobes in language processing and to the decline in other cognitive abilities in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy.
Older adults demonstrate a slower speed of linguistic processing, including sentence processing. In non-linguistic cognitive domains such as memory, research suggests that age- related slowing of processing speed may be a strategy adopted in order to avoid potential error and/or to spare “cognitive resources". So far, very few studies have tested whether older adults’ slower processing speed in the linguistic domain has a strategic nature as well. To fill this gap, we tested whether older adults can maintain language processing accuracy when a faster processing speed is enforced externally. Specifically, we compared sentence comprehension accuracy in younger and older adults when sentences were presented at the participant’s median self-paced reading speed versus twice as fast. We hypothesized that an external speed increase will cause a smaller accuracy decline in older than younger adults because older adults tend to adopt self-paced processing speeds “further away” from their performance limits. The hypothesis was not confirmed: the decline in accuracy due to faster presentation did not differ by age group. Thus, we found no evidence for strategic nature of age-related slowing of sentence processing. Based on our experimental design, we suggest that the age-related slowing of sentence processing is caused not only by motor slowdown, but also by a slowdown in cognitive processing.
Background: Comprehension of reversible sentences that have derived word order has often been reported as impaired in agrammatic aphasia. Most accounts of this phenomenon refer to the syntactic differences between derived and base word order of the arguments. However, it has been demonstrated that in agrammatic spontaneous speech in standard Indonesian (SI) passives are produced at a rate that is proportional to that of healthy speakers. The main difference between passives in SI and in other languages is the frequency with which passives are used: passives in SI are highly frequent. The high frequency can be explained by the fact that passives are used for politeness reasons, saliency of the passive morphology, earlier acquisition, and formal simplicity of the passive structure.
Aims: The purpose of the current study is to investigate comprehension of the passive as a derived structure in SI and the influence of frequency.
Methods & Procedures: A sentence-to-picture matching task was developed to test four reversible sentence types (active, passive, subject cleft and object cleft). There are three variables that are of interest, that is, word order, embedding and relative frequency of structures. Eleven agrammatic speakers classified as suffering from Broca’s aphasia were tested.
Outcomes & Results: The passive sentences were comprehended equally well as the active sentences. Embedding had limited effects: subject clefts were understood as well as actives and passives. Object clefts, however, were understood poorly and significantly worse than the three other sentence types.
Conclusions: The sentence comprehension deficit pattern shown in SI individuals with Broca’s aphasia introduces frequency of a syntactic structure as an additional factor to consider. Whether frequency or pragmatic constraints protects against erosion of the passive in Broca’s aphasia in SI remains an open question.
The paper is focused on the study of reaction of italian literature critics on the publication of the Boris Pasternak's novel "Doctor Jivago". The analysys of the book ""Doctor Jivago", Pasternak, 1958, Italy" (published in Russian language in "Reka vremen", 2012, in Moscow) is given. The papers of italian writers, critics and historians of literature, who reacted immediately upon the publication of the novel (A. Moravia, I. Calvino, F.Fortini, C. Cassola, C. Salinari ecc.) are studied and analised.
In the article the patterns of the realization of emotional utterances in dialogic and monologic speech are described. The author pays special attention to the characteristic features of the speech of a speaker feeling psychic tension and to the compositional-pragmatic peculiarities of dialogic and monologic text.