Nasal consonant production in Broca’s and Wernicke’s aphasics: Speech deficits and neuroanatomical correlates

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The present study investigated the articulatory implementation deficits of Broca’s and Wernicke’s aphasics and their potential neuroanatomical correlates. Five Broca’s aphasics, two Wernicke’s aphasics, and four age-matched normal speakers produced consonant–vowel–(consonant) real word tokens consisting of [m, n] followed by [i, e, a, o, u]. Three acoustic measures were analyzed corresponding to different properties of articulatory implementation: murmur duration (a measure of timing), amplitude of the first harmonic at consonantal release (a measure of articulatory coordination), and murmur amplitude over time (a measure of laryngeal control). Results showed that Broca’s aphasics displayed impairments in all of these parameters, whereas Wernicke’s aphasics only exhibited greater variability in the production of two of the parameters. The lesion extent data showed that damage in either Broca’s area or the insula cortex was not predictive of the severity of the speech output impairment. Instead, lesions in the upper and lower motor face areas and the supplementary motor area resulted in the most severe implementation impairments. For the Wernicke’s aphasics, the posterior areas (superior marginal gyrus, parietal, and sensory) appear to be involved in the retrieval and encoding of lexical forms for speech production, resulting in increased variability in speech production.

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