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Accent on Aphasia. Justine Green SLT Bucks Hospital Trust University College London BSc Speech Sciences 2010 British Aphasiology Society project prize 2009-2010. Background Picture. unfamiliar accents affect speech processing in healthy adults (1) .

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accent on aphasia
Accent on Aphasia
  • Justine Green
  • SLT Bucks Hospital Trust
  • University College London BSc Speech Sciences 2010
  • British Aphasiology Society project prize 2009-2010
background picture


unfamiliar accents affect speech processing in healthy adults(1).

deficits are greater for non-native-accented speech(2).

the effects of accent are more pronounced with adults with aphasia(3;4).

  • 19 adults with chronic aphasia (varying severity following stroke).
  • 19 adults without aphasia.
stimuli story recall task
Stimuli – Story Recall Task
  • eight stories
  • four stories were presented in a familiar accent (Southern Standard British English)
  • four stories were presented in an unfamiliar non-native accent (Bengali).
story recall
Story Recall
  • mimics the demands of everyday conversations.
  • assesses greater linguistic complexity than single sentences.
  • less demanding than spontaneous narrative.
  • provides propositional content as well as lexical choices and syntactic structures.
  • over two sessions, two weeks apart participants listened to recordings of each story and were asked to recall what they had heard.
  • responses were scored for number of information units.
  • all participants recalled

stories more accurately

in the familiar accent

(F(1,36) = 76.347, p< 0.001)

  • individuals with aphasia performed significantly worse than controls.

(F(1,36) = 6.601, p< 0.001).

adults with aphasia
Adults with Aphasia

In the unfamiliar condition:

“the police I think she had an appointment or something and she stopped to make a call I think to her dentist and I think the police stopped her”

In the familiar condition:

“a man had an appointment with his nurse and when he was going he heard a noise and when he realised the chain from his bicycle snap, someone helped him and I think he fix, this person help him fix the puncture and he phoned the nurse to let her know and then he went to see her after that”

effect of age
Effect of Age
  • age only had an effect on

individuals with aphasia:

older participants scored

significantly lower in the

unfamiliar condition than

younger participants

(F(1, 17) = 9.463, p = 0.007).

  • no age effect was found

for controls.

effect of type of aphasia
Effect of Type of Aphasia
  • no effect of type of aphasia in the familiar condition.

(F(1,8) = 0.588, p = 0.465).

  • significant interaction

between the type of aphasia

and accent.

(F(1,8) = 12.730, p = 0.007).

  • significantly greater difficulty for people with conduction aphasia when recalling the unfamiliar accent.
  • Non-native accented speech is more difficult.
  • Older people with aphasia have greater difficulty.
  • People with conduction aphasia appear to have more difficulty than those with anomic aphasia.
practical implications
Practical Implications
  • Increase awareness of accent on assessment performance and participation.
  • Are people with aphasia able to adapt spontaneously?
  • If not does auditory training help?
  • If that is not possible the what modifications in the environment are needed?
  • Clients from UCL Communication Clinic
  • Carolyn Bruce
  • Caroline Newton
  • Adank, P., Evans, B., Stuart-Smith, J. & Scott, S. K. (2009). Comprehension of familiar and unfamiliar native accents under adverse listening conditions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 35, 520-529.
  • Munro, M. J. &Derwing, T. M. (1995). Processing time, accent and comprehensibility in the perception of native and foreign-accented speech. Language and Speech 38, 289-306.
  • Dunton, J., Bruce, C. & Newton, C. (in press). Investigating the impact of unfamiliar speaker accent on auditory comprehension in adults with aphasia. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders.
  • To, C. (2009). Investigating the impact of unfamiliar regional and unfamiliar foreign accent in adults with aphasia: Unpublished BSc Thesis: University College London.
  • Mahendra, N., Bayles, K. A. & Harris, F. P. (2005). Effect of presentation modality on immediate and delayed recall in individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 14, 144-155.
  • Bayles, K.A. &Tomoeda, C. K. (1993). The Arizona battery for Communication Disorders of Dementia. Tucson, AZ: Canyonlands.
  • Wilson, B. A., Cockburn, J &Baddeley, A. (2003). The RivermeadBehavioural Memory Test (RBMT-II). Reading: England: Thames Valley Test.
  • Adank, P. & Devlin, J. (2010). On-line plasticity in spoken sentence comprehension. Adapting to time compressed speech. Neuroimage 491124-1132.