Verb Naming in Telugu- English Bilinguals with Semantic Dementia
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Verb Naming in Telugu- English Bilinguals with Semantic Dementia

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    Verb Naming in Telugu- English Bilinguals with Semantic Dementia Verb Naming in Telugu- English Bilinguals with Semantic Dementia Document Transcript

    • Verb Naming in Telugu-English Bilinguals with Semantic Dementia Sonal Chitnis*, Sudheer Bhan***, Suvarna Alladi**, Vani Rupela**, Jaydip Ray Chaudhary* Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad*, NIMS,Hyderabad**, Hyderabad Central University,India*** Abstract: Objective(s): Verb production is affected in persons with cognitive communication impairments. The study aimed to investigate naming impairments at verb level in three bilingual Telugu–English-speaking persons with semantic dementia (SD). Impact of bilingualism on impairment of verb forms and semantic errors in verb forms in relation to transitive vs. intransitive verbs were studied. Method(s): Persons with SD were compared with normal individuals who were matched in terms of age, gender, education and bilingual language exposure. All participants were coordinate bilinguals. Standard diagnostic criteria were used for diagnosing the patients with SD. A ‘verb test battery’ was developed that included 21 pictures representing 10 transitive and 11 intransitive verbs. Participants were asked to describe pictures in Telugu (first language:L1) and English (second language:L2). Results: Verb naming in persons with SD was more affected than in normals. More errors were noticed in L2 than in L1 in persons with SD. No significant difference observed between Transitive verbs and intransitive verb naming in these patients. They also had more dynamic misnaming type of errors when compared to static misnaming. The types of errors noticed were semantic paraphasias (related and unrelated), semantic jargon (relevant and irrelevant), circumlocutions, semantic confusion, groping behaviour, and onomotopoeic patterns. Code switching and code mixing were observed in SD as well as in normals. Conclusions: The study demonstrates a significant impairment in naming verbs in SD when compared to normals especially in terms of L2 attrition.
    • Key words: Semantic dementia, verb naming, bilingualism Introduction Semantic dementia is a cognitive syndrome characterized by gradual deterioration of conceptual knowledge or semantic memory (Hodges, Patterson, Oxbury, & Funnell, 1992). It is marked by deterioration in semantic knowledge, the hallmark being a progressive inability to generate or comprehend common concrete concepts in the context of relatively preserved fluency of speech (Bright, Moss, & Tyler, 2008). Underlying semantic memory deficits result in speech which is empty of content while still syntactically and phonologically well-formed (Clark, Charuvastra, Miller, Shapira, & Mendez, 2005). Deficits observed in persons with semantic dementia (SD) include phonological errors, and difficulty in comprehending complex syntactic structures. Neuroimaging studies reveal that persons with SD have predominant left temporal lobe atrophy (Garrard, Patterson, Watkins, & Hodges, 2000; Gorno-Tempini et al., 2004; Mummery, Patterson, Price & Hodges, 2000; Rosen et al., 2002a). Persons with SD have a highly specific impairment of semantic memory. They fail in diverse semantic tasks even though other aspects of phonology, visual processing and decision making remain intact (Hodges et al. 1992). In SD, deficits in recognition also occur. They are consequence of the selective degradation of semantic knowledge associated with this syndrome. The breakdown of semantic knowledge has been posited as the basis for the impairment in comprehension and naming ability in persons with dementia. For example, persons with SD have substantial difficulty in generating members of semantic categories and in making judgments about the physical properties and functions of objects. There is some support for the notion that patients with dementia lose the knowledge of specific semantic attributes representing knowledge about a concept. The first selective impairment of semantic knowledge was reported by Warrington (1975). He described three patients with cerebral atrophy (probable semantic dementia) and selective progressive difficulties in comprehending the meaning of words and significance of objects in spite of a fluent and generally syntactically correct speech. Degradation of semantic memory representations were reported by Warrington and Shallice (1984) and then Warrington and McCarthy (1983, 1987). They
    • reported patients as having a primary progressive deficit in semantic memory (Warrington, 1975). They argued that the progressive anomia observed in these patients was not simply a language deficit but reflected a fundamental loss of semantic memory, affecting object recognition and knowledge as well as word finding and comprehension. Mesulam (2003) have argued that such patients are better regarded as a subtype of Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA). He also called PPA as language based dementia (Mesulam, 2001). Recent studies have demonstrated distinct language-processing deficits in each subgroup of patients with FTD reflecting the breakdown of a language-processing system that consists of highly interactive but partially dissociable grammatical, semantic, and resource-based (executive) components (Hyon-Ah, Moore, & Grossman, 2007). Variability in findings of verb naming have been demonstrated in progressive fluent aphasia or SD (Hillis, Sangjin & Ken, 2004). Investigations point to distinct neuroanatomic representations for verbs and nouns although the precise neuroanatomic locus for these word classes appears to be quite variable (Silveri, Perri, & Cappa, 2003). Verbs are characterized as words referring to actions, states, processes or relations, e.g. play, eat, hold and sit. Verbs referring to actions are also known as motion verbs. Syntactically, they can be characterized as transitive verbs that are followed by an object and intransitive verbs that are not followed by an object. Sometimes, motion verbs become ambitransitive, e.g. climbing and reading can be both transitive and intransitive. Semantic representation of verbs is more complex than that of nouns. Several linguistic and neuropsychological factors are responsible for it. Verbs have one or more permissible argument structures, whereas nouns have no argument structure. It results in subcategories of verbs which makes generalizing from the usage of one verb to another often impossible. Verbs that have more than one argument structure are more difficult to produce even on picture naming. Verbs also tend to be morphologically more complex than nouns in most languages as they have relatively low imageability than nouns. Frequency of nouns in any language is more than that of verbs. This makes verbs more difficult to access or retrieve than nouns. Modality of presentation too plays a significant role in verb naming. Motion verbs presented through videos are better named than static line drawings of objects, as the line drawings are not coloured or set in a rich, real world context. All or some of these factors may lead to impairment of verbs more than nouns after brain damage or degeneration, as seen in aphasia or Alzheimer’s disease or Semantic dementia (Matzig et al., 2008). The selective
    • disruption of verbs or nouns might occur at any one of several levels, the level of semantics, the level of accessing the phonological or orthographic representation of words for output or even at a pre-semantic level of processing, where picture stimuli are recognized as action vs. objects. Neurophysiologically, the lexical-semantic representation of verbs are processed in frontal regions such as left premotor cortex, whereas the representation of nouns are processed more posteriorly such as in left anterior and medial temporal cortex (Shapiro & Caramazza,, 2003). However, lesions in patients with impaired semantic processing for action verbs are not always restricted to frontal cortex but may also extend to left parietal and posterior temporal cortices. The evidence in this regard comes from repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) studies, PET studies and electrophysiological studies. Deficits in verb naming (in particular with AD and SD) are the result of deficits in semantic memory. Vulnerability of neural representation of verbs results in part from a difference in the hierarchical taxonomic organization of verbs compared with nouns (Robinson, Grossman, White-Devine, & D’Esposito, 1996; White-Devine et al., 1996). It has been found that frontal variant of FTD can progressively disrupt preconceptual representation of verbs relative to nouns (Bak, O’Donovan, Xuereb, Boniface, & Hodges, 2000). Bak & Hogdes (2001) reported that progressive nonfluent aphasias showed progressive deterioration in semantics of verbs relative to nouns, whereas patients with semantic dementias showed deterioration of nouns relative to verbs in a picture matching task. These results suggest that semantic representation of verbs and nouns might entail somewhat different neural substrates, because they can be differently impaired by brain damage. Disproportionate impairment in naming verbs has generally been observed in patients with frontal lesions and non fluent aphasias, whereas selective impairment in naming nouns has generally been observed in patients with posterior temporal lesions and fluent aphasias (Damasio & Tranel, 1993). Verb naming has been studied in persons with SD by various investigators. Hyon-Ah, Moore and Grossman (2007) reported that persons with AD and SD had significantly more impairment in naming verbs than nouns. Persons with SD had greater difficulty with motion verbs compared to cognition verbs. They argued that motion verbs were more difficult for persons with SD because they had poorly organized verb semantic network relative to the noun semantic network. Thus, verbs are more vulnerable to a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Secondly, visual feature knowledge is degraded in persons with SD due to
    • distribution of disease in visual association cortex. It causes relatively greater difficulty for motion verbs compared with cognition verbs. Silveri and Ciccarelli (2007) studied noun and verb naming in three main variants of frontotemporal dementia: the behavioural variant (bV-FTD), progressive non fluent aphasia (PNFA) and SD. Persons with bV-FTD and PNFA named objects better than actions, but persons with SD showed an inverse dissociation. They concluded that both linguistic and non-linguistic factors in particular an executive deficit, contribute to grammatical class dissociation. Some studies have also shown that verbs are less affected than nouns in persons with SD. Oral and written naming of nouns and verbs were investigated in fifteen persons with PNFA, seven with SD and six with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with fronto-temporal dementia by Hillis, Sangjin and Ken (2004). Persons with PNFA and ALS-FTD were significantly more impaired on verb naming than on noun naming and significantly more impaired on oral naming than written naming. Persons with SD were more impaired in naming of nouns than verbs and significantly more impaired in written naming than oral naming. Results reflect that separate regions of the brain are essential for access to oral and written word forms of verbs and nouns and these neural regions can be differently damaged in separate forms of PPA. Rhee, Anitquena, and Grossman (2001) found disproportionate deficits for verbs in patients with various subtypes of fronto-temporal dementia. The more severe impairement was seen not only in the frontal variant, but also in patients with primary language disorders, both fluent and non-fluent. Price and Grossman (2005) assessed comprehension of thematic and transitive verb agreements during a sentence processing task in persons with FTD. The participants were insensitive to violations of thematic role and transitivity agreements. The authors stated that this may have reflected a broader degradation of verb knowledge that involved both grammatical and semantic representations, or difficulty processing sentence structure. Most studies on verb naming in persons with SD have been done in monolingual individuals. We are not aware of any studies that have examined how verbs are affected in bilingual persons with SD. In India, most people are bilingual. Moreover, as life expectancy has increased, there are more elderly people in population of India. There are not many studies on linguistic aspects of bilingual persons with SD in general and semantics of verb
    • forms in particular. Hence, the present study will be of great relevance in this direction. Grosjean (1989) characterized bilingual speakers in perhaps the most realistic terms as those who speak two or more languages in daily life. Perfect knowledge of both languages is not required; instead, people use different languages for different purposes or life domains and consequently have different levels of proficiency within their languages across domains (Lorenzen & Murray, 2008). Bilingualism affects recovery from aphasia in different ways. Similarly, in case of degenerative disorders including SD, first and second language degeneration varies at different linguistic levels. We studied verb naming (transitive and intransitive verbs) in three persons with SD in the present study. We hypothesised that bilingual SD participants would have more semantic impairment in verb naming than control participants. First, verb naming skills would be more impaired in second language (L2) than first language (L1). Second, Transitive verbs which need a direct object use would be more difficult to name than intransitive verbs in persons with SD’s. Third, semantic cue would elicit better responses than repetition cue in naming skills. Method Participants Experimental group This study included three Telugu-English bilingual persons with semantic dementia. Of the participants, two were male and one was female. They were in the age range 53 – 62 years with mean age 58 years. Their educational levels varied between 10 to 15 years with a mean educational level of 13 years. All participants were diagnosed by an experienced neurologist using standard Lund Manchester criteria (Neary et al., 1998). Neuroimaging and blood tests were conducted in order to rule out other treatable or reversible illnesses. All persons had mild to moderate dementia as per neuropsychological assessments: Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Examination Revised (ACE-R), Telugu and Hindi adapted versions, Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR). All tests were carried out in the native language of the participants. Details are presented in table 1.
    • Table 1: Demographic details of persons with SD Participants Age Gender Education MMSE WAB O 53 Male 14 23 58.4 S 62 Female 15 24 62.8 N 60 Male 19 46.4 10 A bilingual language questionnaire (Salvatierra, Roselli, Acevedo, Duara, 2007) was administered on all participants. All persons with SD rated themselves as quite well to relatively well in their speaking fluency of both L1 and L2 except one participant N, who could read and write but had limited verbal repertoire in spoken English. Individual participant details are presented as follows: Case 1- O is a 53 year old accountant who presented with fluent speech, relatively preserved comprehension and syntactic skills but severe word finding difficulty. He is fond of reading and writing Telugu and English articles, and poems. He came with a complaint of naming difficulty of a progressive nature since 6 months. He also complained of an inability to think and write well in terms of rhyming and matching words, and understanding what people say. He ascribed his problems to stress and cigarette smoking for two months. Family members reported rigidity in terms of behavior. There was no history of significant memory loss in terms of events and this was corroborated with examination. MMSE score was 23/30. WAB (AQ) = 58.4 hence he was classified as Transcortical Sensory Aphasia. MRI report revealed left anterior temporal atrophy. Case 2- S is 62 years old housewife who worked as a teacher for a few years before her marriage. She had fluent speech and well preserved syntax. She came with complain of progressive language disturbance and word finding difficulty including names of family members since 1 year. Family members also reported changes in behavior in terms of not wanting to throw away things that had gone bad. MMSE score was 24/30. WAB (AQ) = 62.3 hence she was classified as anomic aphasia. MRI report revealed left anterior temporal atrophy. Case 3- N is 60 years old farmer who presented with progressive problems in naming objects, poor comprehension, logorrhea and circumlocutory speech. Family members reported that his
    • comprehension skills were deteriorating. WAB (AQ) score was 46.4 and hence he was classified as having Wernicke’s Aphasia. MRI report revealed left anterior temporal atrophy. Control group Three bilingual control participants were also included who passed a neurological screening conducted by a qualified neurologist. They were matched individually with participants in the experimental group in terms of age, gender, languages spoken, and educational background. They were in the age range 54 – 63 years with a mean age 60 years. Materials and procedure: A ‘verb naming test’ was administered on all participants in Telugu and English. Pictures of the test were first field tested on ten 18-20 year old neurologically normal bilingual adults. They were asked to rate the pictures in terms of clarity and were asked to name them. Only those pictures that were rated clear were taken as stimuli. The final stimuli included 21 picture cards depicting 11 transitive and 10 intransitive verbs in English, 10 transitive and 11 intransitive verbs in Telugu. Transitive and intransitive verbs were selected according to their most common usage, but their designation in few cases was ambitransitive Stimuli were administered in two languages. Due to structural differences, some intransitive verbs become transitive in Telugu. Hence, the difference is no. of transitive and intransitive stimuli in two languages. Informed consents were taken from all participants. Pictures were shown one after another to the participants. If participants could not give responses, they were first given a repetition cue. If that failed to work, they were then given a semantic cue. They were asked the questions in Telugu (first language-L1) first and then in English (second language- L2). Speech samples were recorded using Sony’s voice recorder in a quiet setting. All data was transcribed and analysed based on naming patterns and processes. Analysis The data obtained from participants on verb test battery and responses to cueing were subjected to statistical analysis, namely Mann Whitney U test to find out whether there was a
    • significant difference in verb naming between SD and control group. The responses were also analyzed according to errors using the following key (Bhan, 2000): 1. Semantic paraphasias: These are substitutions, where the substituted word is semantically related to target word. a. Dynamic misnaming: Either one element is singled out from the general composition of the action (piercing for sewing) or an equivalent or more generalized attitude is substituted (writes for draws). The singling out of the dynamic element sometimes results in a novel word (bullets throwing / shooting), which may also contain phonemic paraphasias (Beyn & Vlasenko, 1974). b. Static misnaming: In static misnaming, verb forms are replaced by a noun. E.g.: ‘The farmer is ploughing the field’ is said as ‘with the plough’. 2. Semantically unrelated paraphasias: These are substitutions for the target word, which are not semantically related to it. 3. Semantically unrelated paraphasias within the semantic field: These are substitutions for target verb, which are not related to it but both target verb and named verb are within the same semantic field. 4. Semantic jargon: When a patient uses confused, intelligible or unintelligible language, while responding to noun or verbal stimuli, it is called semantic jargon. It can be semantically relevant or irrelevant .It is lengthy, fluent utterance with content words. 5. Phonemic paraphasias: These are substitutions at sound level in words. They involve additions, deletions or interchange of phonemes within the word. 6. Circumlocutions: Some patients, unable to evoke an elusive word, substitute another word, phrase, gesture or use circumlocutions due to word finding difficulty. Instead of naming the verb or object noun, he names only its attributes or functions i.e. they talk around or about the specific word. 7. Onomatopoeic pattern: A pattern in which a noun or verb is replaced by its sound while naming. 8. Code switching: When the subject substitutes a sentence from another language for the target verb, the phenomena is known as code switching. 9. Code mixing: Mixing of words from one language into another language is called code mixing. Results
    • Responses obtained from all participants were transcribed and analyzed. Comparisons were made between responses obtained from control participants and persons with SD. Numbers of correct responses for verb naming in Telugu and English, transitive and intransitive verbs in both of these languages were compared between two groups. In order to compare the numbers of correct responses between groups in both languages the Mann Whitney U test was performed. We will first present group comparisons and then some individual trends and errors. Table 2: Performance of participants in Telugu and English verb naming Correct responses Controls Mean Semantic Dementia SD Mean |Z| SD Telugu 20.00 1.00 5.00 2.00 2.023* English 19.00 2.00 1.00 1.00 2.041* *p<0.05 25 Mean scores 20 15 Normal 10 Semantic Dementia 5 0 Telugu English Figure 1: Correct responses for Telugu and English verbs in SD and control group Results revealed that the two groups of participants significantly differed from each other when compared in terms of correct responses obtained in both languages. Persons with SD showed significantly less number of correct responses when compared with the controls in both languages. Interaction effect between language and group was also significant. Persons with SD showed significantly lesser number of correct responses in English when
    • compared to Telugu. However, no differences in language were observed in the control group. Comparisons for transitive and intransitive verbs were also carried out. When we look across Telugu and English data, we find that persons with SD were more impaired in both transitive and intransitive verbs in English than Telugu. That reflects more degeneration of L2 when compared to L1 among persons with SD. However, no significant differences were observed between transitive and intransitive verbs. Table 3: Transitive and Intransitive verb analysis for both groups of participants Participants Telugu English Transitive verbs Intransitive verbs Transitive verbs Intransitive verbs Semantic dementia O 3 3 1 0 S 2 4 0 1 N 1 1 0 0 N1 10 11 10 11 N2 9 11 7 9 N3 10 11 10 11 Control participants
    • 12 Correct responses 10 8 Telugu transitive 6 Telugu intransitive 4 English transitive English intransitive 2 0 O S N N1 N2 N3 Participants Figure 2: Comparison of participants on transitive and intransitive Telugu and English verbs Table 3 and figure 2 depict the performance of participants on transitive and intransitive verbs in Telugu as well as English. Participants with SD were more impaired in naming of transitive and intransitive verbs than participants in the control group. No significant differences were found between transitive and intransitive verb naming in SD. We now discuss about various lexical patterns observed in naming of transitive and intransitive verbs in bilingual (Telugu/English) persons with SD and control participants as follows: Examples of responses of participants in control group: Control participants were asked to name picture stimuli of 21 motion verbs first in Telugu and then in English. Almost all participants named 19 out of 21 verbs correctly in Telugu. In English verb naming, all participants could name 20 out of 21 verbs, except one participant aged 62 years. Code switching with correct response in Telugu was seen in two participants, who could not name English verbs. The rest of them named 95% of the verbs correctly in English. Code mixing was seen in only one control participant for verbs ‘cutting and ‘blowing’ in Telugu E.g.: ‘abbaayi uudutunnaadu’ → ‘He is blowing’ ‘abbaayi blow chestunnaadu’ ‘he is doing blow’ ‘ammaayi kuuragaajəlu kostundi’ → ‘ammaayi kuurəgaajəlu kət chestundi’ ‘The girl is cutting vegetables’ → ‘The girl is cutting vegetables’
    • Examples of responses from persons with SD: 1. Semantic paraphasias: Semantic paraphasias were frequently observed in both Telugu as well as English data of persons with SD. When shown a picture of a boy stitching clothes, N named that ‘he is turning over the cloth and putting it for stitching’ and thus indicating word finding difficulty. When investigator provided the semantic cue of ‘battəlu’ i.e. ‘clothes’, N mentioned that ‘the boy is turning over/rotating the cloth’ instead of stitching. Here, N has named part of the action i.e. ‘tippudu’ or rotating (the cloth) for whole verb ‘kuttutunnaadu’ or ‘stitching’. Thus, he has given an instance of dynamic misnaming. Similar type of naming for ‘kuttutunnaadu’ or ‘stitching’ was given by S, whereas O named it as ‘tokkutunaadu’ which means ‘he is handling the machine’. E.g.: ‘abbaayi kuttutunnadu’ → ‘idi tippudu pedtunnaadu, idi andi, tippuda idi idi’ (N) ‘He is turning over the cloth and putting it, turning, that’s it.....this, this’ → ‘bəttalu toti tippudu ‘(He) is turning over / rotating with clothes’ In response to a picture depicting a boy jumping, S described it as ‘dancing’. When asked to name transitive verb ‘singing’ in response to a picture stimuli, O used a semantically related verb ‘talking’. In another instance, O also revealed semantic confusion. First he used ‘walking’ for ‘crawling’ and then going. Later, he used an idiomatic expression referring to verb ‘going to his black and white’. However, verbs ‘walking’ and ‘going’ are semantically related to target verb ‘crawling’. Secondly, ‘walking’ and ‘going’ are one part of the whole verb ‘crawling’, demonstrating a part-whole relation. E.g.: ‘baabu egurutunnaadu’ → ‘The boy is jumping’ ‘dance chestunnaadu’ (S) ‘(He) is dancing‘ E.g.: ‘The girl is singing’ → ‘She is talking’ (O) E.g.: ‘The boy is crawling’ → ‘He is walking’ (O)
    • ‘He is going....going to his white and black’ There were several instances of static misnaming as well, a type of semantic paraphasia. In response to a picture of a girl lighting the lamp, participant O used a noun and said ‘doing with Bhagwan’ in place of the target verb i.e. ‘lighting’ the lamp. In the second instance, he said ‘doing with balloons’ in place of blowing balloons. Both these instances indicated that participant O simplified the target verbs as he could not name them. E.g.: ‘The girl is lighting the lamp’ → ‘She is doing with bhagwan’ She is doing with God E.g.: ‘The boys are blowing balloons’→ 2. ‘They are....they are ...doing with balloons’ Semantically unrelated paraphasia E.g.: ‘The boy is sleeping’ → ‘He is writing’ (O) In this instance, the target verb ‘sleeping’ and the response i.e. ‘writing’ are not contextually or semantically related. 3. Semantically unrelated paraphasias within the semantic field: When shown a picture depicting woman washing the clothes, N first produced semantically irrelevant jargon and then said ‘aareskodaniki’ for drying, and ‘adi lekha’ –‘that is the thing’. Perhaps, he wanted to say that lady is washing the clothes for drying them later on, but he could not name the required transitive verb i.e. ‘washing clothes’ and in its place substituted verb ‘drying’. E.g.: ‘aame battalu utukutundi’ ‘she is washing clothes’ → ‘aareskodaaniki adi lekha’ (N) ‘for drying clothes, that is the thing’ In response to the picture of a women lighting the earthen lamp before an idol, she mentioned that ‘she is bowing before God’ and ‘doing pooja or worship’. Both the verbs ‘bowing’ and ‘worshipping’ belong to the semantic field.
    • E.g.: ‘ammaayi diipam pedutunnadi → ‘devudu ki dandam pedutunnadi puuja chestunnadi’ (O) ‘she is lighting the lamp’ → ‘she is bowing before God, (she) is worshipping or praying’ 4. Onomatopoeic pattern When shown a picture of a boy sliding, O named that he is getting down like this, by making a sound ‘taka’. In this instance, he gave an onomatopoeic response of ‘taka’ in order to describe the sound. A similar response was also found in S’s naming. E.g. ‘abbaayi jaarutunnaadu’ → ‘itla tak ani digutunnaadu’ (S) ‘The boy is sliding’ → ‘I get down .....tak, like this’ ‘nenu kuuda digedaanni, taka taka digata’ (O) ‘I used to get down too, taka taka, I get down’ 5. Circumlocutions E.g.: ‘abbaayi padava naduputunnaadu’ → ‘water lo....niilallo…kurchoni…avi… kodutunnaadu bayata povadaaniki try chestunnaadu’ ‘The boy is rowing’ → ‘in water...in water.....by sitting....he is he is moving those (rows) and is…trying to get out (of water)’ (O) E.g.: ‘abbaayi jaarutunnaadu’ → ‘The boy is sliding’ ‘itla paiki ekki digutunnaadu’ (N) ‘after climbing up (the slide), he is getting down like this (gesture)’ → ‘itla nilapadi diguta untaaru’ (S) ‘He stands like this (gesture) and keeps on getting down (the slide)’
    • All these instances indicated that the participants used circumlocutions to describe the target verbs. Circum locutions were found more in participant S than in N and O. N described that the place shown is full of water and the boy is hitting here and there (in water) with a wooden stick (row) instead of the target verb ‘rowing’. These circumlocutions reflect that persons with SD included in the present study have failed to access semantic representations for certain transitive and intransitive verbs. They also present with relatively preserved nominal retention as seen in most persons with SD since they are able to name nouns within the semantic field, with substitution of other verbs for the target verb. 6. Semantic jargon This was observed more often in participant N who is a farmer. As a farmer, he has well preserved ideas /concepts about semantic field of agriculture (farming) and its products. Thus, wherever he had difficulty in naming a target verb, he tried to explain it in terms of agriculture products. In response to the picture of a sleeping boy, he mentioned that ‘the poor boy is sitting in prone position resting his head on the pillow’. He probably presumed the small boy as a raw vegetable (kaaya), as the boy is motionless. He substituted ‘sitting’ and then ‘lying in prone position’ in place of ‘sleeping’ in his verb naming. ‘Lying’ is one part of the whole verb i.e. ‘sleeping’. Thus, he named a part verb (action) for whole verb substitution of sitting in place of sleeping. Also sitting in prone position is not possible. When provided with a repetition and semantic cue, it did not help him to name the verb correctly. In another instance, N referred to the comb as an object of ‘cleaning’ (hair). He then mentioned that the girl is lady is holding it in her hand and it (comb) has stuck in her hair. So ‘getting stuck’ is a one part of the whole verb ‘combing’. The following examples are semantically relevant jargon. E.g.: ‘abbaayi padukunnaadu’ → ‘idi assalu kaaya paapam abbaayi,borla daani miidaa talakaaya petti kukkunaadu’ ‘The boy is sleeping’ → ‘this is a real vegetable...that poor boy is sitting and resting his head over the pillow” E.g.: ‘ammaayi duvvukuntundi’ → ‘idi maamuləga nenu anukunnaanu tomukunnedi…vastu’
    • ‘The lady is combing’ → ‘This is usual I thought, used as an object of cleaning’ ‘baagaane undi. Cheetulo pettukuntundi’ ‘This is good, (she) is holding (it) in hand’ ‘Idi assalu leka’ ‘That’s the thing’ ‘Kuchkundi idi’ ‘It (comb) is stuck in her hair’ Semantically irrelevant jargon was also observed in participants. In the following instances both N and S produced semantic jargon that was in no way related to the pictures shown to elicit target transitive verbs. For example playing with toys, lighting the lamp and singing a song. Such instances were not part of O’s verbal repertoire. E.g.: ‘ammaayi bommalato aadukuntundi → ‘ammaayi emo assalu ammaayi, emi cheji akkharaledu. Chinna ammaayi perugutundi memu chesi penche vaalam ‘The girl is playing with toys’ → ‘This girl is a real girl, need not do anything. (This) small girl is growing. We are the ones who will bring her up” E.g.: ‘ammaayi diipam veligistunnadi → ‘idi milk vessel kada? vedi cesta undi ‘The lady is lighting the lamp’ → ‘isn’t it a milk vessel, (she) is boiling it’ E.g.: ‘ammaayi paata paadutunnadi’ → ‘enduko akkada vellindi, enduko cestundi daani kuuda oka lekha’ ‘The girl is singing a song’ → ‘why why did she go there; that also has a meaning’ 7. Code Mixing:
    • Code mixing in persons with SD was found only in Telugu stimuli i.e. they mixed English words in Telugu data. Code mixing pattern consisted of nouns in English and verb forms in Telugu. E.g.: ‘abbaayi padava nadaputunnaadu’ → ‘water lo, niilallo kurchoni kodatunnaadu’ ‘The boy is rowing’ → ‘in water, in water, he’s moving those rows’ (O) E.g.: ‘kuuragaajalu kostunnadi’ → ‘cut chestundi….kətti to cut chestundi’ ‘She is cutting vegetables’ → ‘she is doing cut, she is cutting with knife’ 8. Code Switching Code Switching to Telugu was encountered in persons with SD in response to English verb stimuli. However no code switching was seen in response to Telugu stimuli. This reflects that verb naming was better preserved in SD’s in Telugu (native language) relative to English (second language). However, code switching was not observed in participant N as he could not comprehend and respond to English verbal stimuli. Participant S code switched to Telugu for eight out of twenty two English verbal stimuli. In participant O, code switching was observed in response to several verb stimuli in English. He sometimes code switched to Telugu and sometimes to Hindi. 9. Phonemic paraphasias were not observed in any of the participants with SD or in the control group. Discussion and conclusions The present study investigates verb naming in individuals with semantic dementia in comparison with neurologically normal control participants. As expected, persons with SD named fewer verbs correctly when compared to control participants. Neurophysiologically, the lexical-semantic representation of verbs is processed in frontal regions such as left premotor cortex, whereas the representation of nouns is processed more posteriorly such as in left anterior and medial temporal cortex (Shapiro & Caramazza, 2003). Various investigators have studied verbs in persons with SD. While some studies reveal that nouns are more affected than verbs (Hillis, Sangjin, & Ken, 2004), others reveal the opposite trend (Hyon-
    • Ah, Moore & Grossman, 2007). While the present study does not compare verb vs. noun naming, studies do support findings that verbs are indeed affected in persons with SD. Disproportionate impairment in naming verbs has generally been observed in patients with frontal lesions and non fluent aphasias, whereas selective impairment in naming nouns has generally been observed in patients with posterior temporal lesions and fluent aphasias (Damasio & Tranel, 1993). The study also revealed that persons with SD do not show any differences in performance between transitive and intransitive verbs. Price and Grossman (2005) concluded from their study that persons with fronto-temporal dementia were insensitive to violations of transitive agreement. Various different types of errors were observed in our study as have been illustrated with examples. Cotelli et al. (2006) have also reported errors such as semantic paraphasias, semantically unrelated paraphasias, neologisms, substitution with noun for verb (static misnaming) and anomia in their study. Priming or cuing was carried out to determine whether the representation and automatic access of lexical semantic information was intact in subject or not. Repetition and semantic cues were not very effective in eliciting names of verbs in Telugu and English among participants with SD in the present study. We also conclude that persons with SD have more difficulty in verb naming in L2 (English) than in L1 (Telugu). Lexical-semantic errors were seen in both Telugu and English among persons with SD. However code switching was observed only in response to English verbal stimuli and code mixing in response to Telugu verbal stimuli. The present study however uses a small sample and hence the generalizability may be limited. A larger study involving bilingual persons with SD may provide clear and better insights. References Bak, T. & Hodges, J. R. (2001). Motor neurone disease, dementia and aphasia coincidence, co-occurrence or continuum. Journal of Neurology, 248(4), 1432-1459. Bak, T. H., O’Donovan, D. G., Xuereb, J. H., Boniface, S., & Hodges, J. R. (2001). Selective impairment of verb processing associated with pathological changes in Brodmann Areas 44 and 4 in the motor neurone disease– dementia–aphasia syndrome. Brain, 124, 103–120.
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