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Comprehension of vernacular features in aphasia (Sandberg et al., 2022)

journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-27, 22:04 authored by Chaleece W. Sandberg, Frances Blanchette, Cynthia Lukyanenko
Purpose: Insights from linguistic variation research illustrate a linguistically diverse population, in which even speakers who can be classified as speaking a “mainstream” variety have grammatical knowledge of vernacular or “nonmainstream” features. However, there is a gap in our knowledge regarding how vernacular features are comprehended in people with aphasia (PWA). This article presents the results of a pilot study exploring how PWA respond to linguistic stimuli that include the vernacular feature, negative concord (NC), often referred to by the more colloquial term double negative (e.g., I didn’t do nothing, equivalent to I didn’t do anything).
Method: Twelve PWA in the chronic stage of recovery each rated the naturalness and felicity of 48 critical sentences and 64 fillers, all of which contained two clauses, the second clause describing a consequence of the first. Ratings were analyzed using ordinal regression.
Results: PWA rated NC sentences as unacceptable, but felicitous—a pattern similar to that shown by neurologically intact adults in a previous study.
Conclusions: These results suggest that PWA are sensitive to both social and linguistic information at levels similar to neurologically intact speakers. These results have implications for the integration of vernacular features into future research, assessment, and treatment protocols for PWA.

Supplemental Material S1. Stimuli: Complete list of items and fillers.

Supplemental Material S2. Demographic questions.

Sandberg, C. W., Blanchette, F., & Lukyanenko, C. (2022). Comprehension of vernacular features in aphasia. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.


This work was supported with seed funding from the Center for Language Science at Penn State.