Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Nick Miller
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
© 2014, Dement Neuropsychol. All rights reserved. Age of acquisition (AoA) of words is a recognised variable affecting language processing in speakers with and without language disorders. For bi-and multilingual speakers their languages can be differentially affected in neurological illness. Study of language loss in bilingual speakers with dementia has been relatively neglected. Objective: We investigated whether AoA of words was associated with level of naming impairment in bilingual speakers with probable Alzheimer’s dementia within and across their languages. Methods: Twenty-six Frisian-Dutch bilinguals with mild to moderate dementia named 90 pictures in each language, employing items with rated AoA and other word variable measures matched across languages. Quantitative (totals correct) and qualitative (error types and (in)appropriate switching) aspects were measured. Results: Impaired retrieval occurred in Frisian (Language 1) and Dutch (Language 2), with a significant effect of AoA on naming in both languages. Earlier acquired words were better preserved and retrieved. Performance was identical across languages, but better in Dutch when controlling for covariates. However, participants demonstrated more inappropriate code switching within the Frisian test setting. On qualitative analysis, no differences in overall error distribution were found between languages for early or late acquired words. There existed a significantly higher percentage of semantically than visually-related errors. Conclusion: These findings have implications for understanding problems in lexical retrieval among bilingual individuals with dementia and its relation to decline in other cognitive functions which may play a role in inappropriate code switching. We discuss the findings in the light of the close relationship between Frisian and Dutch and the pattern of usage across the life-span.
Author(s): Veenstra WS, Huisman M, Miller N
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Dementia e Neuropsychologia
Print publication date: 01/09/2014
Online publication date: 01/07/2014
Acceptance date: 20/06/2014
ISSN (print): 1980-5764
Publisher: Academia Brasileira de Neurologia
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