Blog Archives

Effects of language proficiency and language of the environment on aphasia therapy in a multilingual

We examined the relative proficiency of four languages (Spanish, German, French, English) of a multilingual speaker with aphasia, JM. JM’s self-rated proficiency was consistent with his naming accuracy for nouns and verbs (The Object and Action Naming Battery, Druks & Masterson, 2000) and with his performance on selected subtests of the Bilingual Aphasia Test (Paradis & Libben, 1987). Within and between-language changes were measured following two periods of language treatment, one in a highly proficient language (Spanish) and one in a less-proficient language (English). The various outcome measures differed in their sensitivity to treatment-associated changes. Cross-language treatment effects were linked to the language of the environment at the time of testing and to relative language proficiency.

from the Journal of Neurolinguistics

Hearing aid noise reduction algorithms and the acquisition of novel speech contrasts by young children

A previous study by the authors concluded that digital noise reduction (DNR) does not have an influence on the acquisition of a second language in adults. On the basis of results from adult subjects, it was inferred that DNR is not likely to influence language acquisition in pre-verbal infants. The present study serves as an update to determine whether the tasks being modeled could be conducted with younger participants of 4-and 5-years of age, and whether similar results would be found. Two groups of normal-hearing, monolingual English-speaking children were presented with noise-embedded Hindi speech contrasts that were difficult to discriminate. One group listened to both speech items and noise processed with DNR while the other group listened to unprocessed speech in noise. To ensure task appropriateness, these results were also compared to measures from a third group composed of Hindi-speaking children of the same age. Results indicated that Hindi-speaking children performed better than English-speaking children, confirming age-appropriateness of the cross-language task, but that DNR did not enhance nor impair the acquisition of novel speech contrasts by young listeners.

from the Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology</p

Semantic verbal fluency in two contrasting languages

This cross-linguistic study investigated Semantic Verbal Fluency (SVF) performance in 30 American English-speaking and 30 Finnish-speaking healthy elderly adults with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Despite the different backgrounds of the participant groups, remarkable similarities were found between the groups in the overall SVF performance in two semantic categories (animals and clothes), in the proportions of words produced within the first half (30 seconds) of the SVF tasks, and in the variety of words produced for the categories. These similarities emerged despite the difference in the mean length of words produced in the two languages (with Finnish words being significantly longer than English words). The few differences found between the groups concerned the types and frequencies of the 10 most common words generated for the categories. It was concluded that culture and language differences do not contribute significantly to variability in SVF performance in healthy elderly people.

from Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics