Language impairment in Catalan-Spanish bilinguals with Alzheimer’s disease

The language performance of a sample of 12 Catalan-Spanish bilingual patients with early Alzheimer’s disease was studied using the Bilingual Aphasia Test (BAT). We compared the performances of the two languages in spontaneous speech and in a wide set of linguistic subtests including translation tasks. Three of the patients had acquired Catalan and Spanish at the same time, while the rest were exposed to their second language (Spanish) between three and five years of age. Catalan was the most frequently used language for all the participants. Their performances in Catalan and Spanish were similar, except for the verbal fluency subtest (Spanish > Catalan). Their translation of words was better from Spanish to Catalan, whereas the translation of sentences was better from Catalan to Spanish. The analysis of spontaneous speech only showed that the patients produced more words and sentences in Catalan. According to the declarative/procedural model of language, these results suggest that the processing of the two languages is more similar than different. Nevertheless, regression to the first language may be more evident as the disease progresses. In our study, the differences observed between one language and the other may be influenced by the sociolinguistic environment of the patients.

from the Journal of Neurolinguistics

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Posted on July 5, 2011, in Research and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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