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Semantic paraphasias

ParaphasiaIs a type of language output error commonly associated with aphasia, and characterized by the production of unintended syllables, words, or phrases during the effort to speak. Paraphasic errors are most common in patients with fluent forms of aphasia, and comes in three forms: phonological or literal, neologistic, and verbal. Paraphasias can affect metrical information, segmental information, number of syllables, or both. Some paraphasias preserve the meter without segmentation, and some do the opposite. However, most paraphasias affect both partially.

The term was apparently introduced in 1877 by the German-English physician Julius Althaus in his book on Diseases of the Nervous System, in a sentence reading, "In some cases there is a perfect chorea or delirium of words, which may be called paraphasia".

Paraphasia is associated with fluent aphasias, characterized by “fluent spontaneous speech, long grammatically shaped sentences and preserved prosody abilities.” Examples of these fluent aphasias include receptive or Wernicke’s aphasia, anomic aphasia, conduction aphasia, and transcortical sensory aphasia, among others. All of these lead to a difference in processing efficiency, which is often caused by damage to a cortical region in the brain (in receptive aphasia, for example, the lesion is in or near Wernicke’s area); lesion location is the most important determining factor for all aphasic disorders, including paraphasia - the location of the lesion can be used to hypothesize the type of aphasic symptoms the patient will display. This lesion can be caused by a variety of different methods: malfunctioning blood vessels (caused, for example, by a stroke) in the brain are the cause of 80% of aphasias in adults, as compared to head injuries, dementia and degenerative diseases, poisoning, metabolic disorders, infectious diseases, and demyelinating diseases. Lesions involving the posterior superior temporal lobe are often associated with fluent aphasias.

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