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Bilingual Aphasia With Parallel Recovery Essay

1589 words - 6 pages

Bilingualism has been commonly used in scientific and common nomenclature to refer to the knowledge and/or use of two languages, though the specifics of the definition have been widely debated (e.g. Altarriba & Heredia, 2008; De Groot & Kroll, 1997; Grosjean, 2010). In fact, one half (Grosjean, 2010) to two-thirds (Walraff, 2000) of all people in the world have been estimated to routinely use more than one language in everyday communicative contexts. Given this global linguistic profile, it has been suggested that an increasing number of people with communication difficulties post-brain injury are likely to be bilingual (Ansaldo, Marchotte, Scherer, & Raboyeau, 2008; Centeno, 2009). Bilingual aphasia refers to difficulties in comprehension and/or production of language in one or more modalities in the presence of intact intellect, observed in speakers of two or more languages. The projected incidence of bilingual aphasia is at least 45,000 new cases per year in just the United States (Paradis, 2001).
One of the most fascinating aspects of bilingualism is the ability of bilingual speakers (particularly those with high proficiency in their constituent languages) to effectively communicate in one language without interference from the non-target language. The cognitive process underlying this ability is often referred to as cross-language control (e.g., Green, 1998; Calabria, Hernandez, Branzi & Costa, in press; Costa and Santesteban, 2004; Crinion et al., 2006; Abutalebi and Green, 2007). External cues such as language environment and linguistic knowledge of the communicative partner have been found to impose some constraints on non-target language interference (e.g., Hoshino & Kroll, 2008). But the underlying cognitive-linguistic and neural resources that constitute the “language switch” that would aid in “turning off” the unintended language have been widely debated (Abutalebi & Green, 2007). The cognitive control of language selection became particularly relevant as scientists began to explore the neurolinguistic underpinnings of language recovery in individuals with bilingual aphasia.
Individuals with bilingual aphasia regaining language abilities post-brain injury have been observed to exhibit several different patterns of recovery. Bilingual persons with aphasia (PWA) often demonstrate impairments in both their languages, which may or may not be consistent with their pre-stroke language dominance (Fabbro, 1999, 2000, 2001; Paradis, 1995, 1998, 2001). Paradis (2001) reviewed published reports of bilingual PWA and found that a majority of them (61%) demonstrated equal recovery of language abilities in both languages, analogous to their proficiency prior to brain injury (parallel recovery). In the other participants, language recovery post-stroke was marked by better recovery in one language compared to the other (differential recovery; 18%), inappropriate mixing of the two languages (blended recovery; 9%), recovery of one language only...

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