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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Maria KAMBANAROS

Grammatical category dissociation of the written modality in multilingual aphasia

Abstract/Résumé: This study reports on the written naming and spelling abilities for verbs and nouns of a simultaneous multilingual individual with fluent aphasia in two languages, Greek (L1) and English (L2), which differ markedly in morphological complexity, orthographic transparency, and alphabetic script. The language independent hypothesis assumes that the patterns of dysgraphia should be similar even if the languages differ in orthographic transparency and other linguistic factors. The participant, AA, is a 25-year-old right-handed male university student who sustained a left parieto-occipital lesion. He was born in Athens and raised as a simultaneous multilingual speaking Greek, English and Arabic from infancy. He was educated in Greek with some years of English language instruction but with no formal education in Arabic. The Greek Object and Action Test (GOAT) in Greek and the English adaptation for English were administered (Kambanaros, 2003), one week apart. For written picture-naming, AA was able to correctly write the names of 34/42 (81.0%) verb and 28/42 (66.6%) noun pictures in Greek, respectively 8/42 (19.0%) on both in English. A chi-square analysis revealed a significant difference in written naming performances between Greek and English (χ2=3.429; p<.001), with better performance in Greek than in English for both verbs and nouns. Furthermore, there was a significant difference in AA’s performance for written verbs compared to nouns in Greek, with a significantly better performance for verbs. For spelling to dictation, AA was able to spell 40/42 (95.2%) verbs and 27/42 (64.3%) nouns in Greek, respectively 10/42 (23.8%) and 14/42 (33.3%) in English. A chi-square analysis revealed a significant difference between spelling performance in Greek compared to English (χ2=6.84, p<.001), with better spelling in Greek than English for verbs and nouns. There was a significant difference in spelling verbs compared to nouns in Greek, with better performance for verbs. By contrast, there was a significant difference in spelling performance for verbs compared to nouns in English, with better performance for nouns. The results offer some support for the hypothesis that patterns of acquired dysgraphia in each language are equivalent for a bilingual user. However, differential effects of grammatical class on word spelling in each language suggests that spelling of verbs and of nouns is constrained by the linguistic properties of each language. Specifically, the writing of verbs is less vulnerable than the writing of nouns in Greek, whereas verbs are more vulnerable than nouns in English. Therefore, the language independent hypothesis is redundant.