Reading of Lexically Stressed Words by Italian Aphasic Patients: A Retrospective Study

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Abstract

This retrospective study investigated whether there is evidence of a 3rd reading mechanism in a transparent orthography such as Italian, where (nearly) all words can be read through the sublexical route but stress cannot always be assigned by orthography-to-phonology rules. The presence and frequency of stress errors in lexically stressed words in 16 aphasic patients with impaired reading comprehension of those same words was checked. Nine patients were reexamined months later. Notwithstanding impaired reading comprehension, none of the patients made stress errors at first examination. At follow-up, all patients showed improvement of reading comprehension and only 2 patients still had better preserved oral reading. The authors concluded that even in transparent orthographies such as Italian, the noninteractive dual-route model is inadequate for explaining all patterns of reading performances. In nonprogressive aphasias, reading comprehension can recover in a large number of patients, reducing the amplitude of the dissociation between reading aloud and reading comprehension and reducing the number of patients showing this dissociation.

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