Broca's Aphasia

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Language is plays an important role in human communication. Language encompasses our ability to identify and use words and sentences. The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for much of the linguistic functions. In most cases stroke or other head trauma that affects the left side of the brain, disrupts a person’s ability to use language. The disruption may manifest as aphasia. There are four major aphasia syndromes, namely Broca’s aphasia, Conduction aphasia, Wernicke’s aphasia and Anomic aphasia. These aphasia syndromes have different characteristics and causes. In this paper the four accepted types of aphasia are described and their aetiology and characteristics are illustrated.
The word aphasia literally means without language.
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When a stroke injures the frontal regions of the left hemisphere, it can lead to Broca’s aphasia, which is a non- fluent aphasia. Characterised by laboured telegraphic speech (like a telegram without connecting words), reduced verbal content, phrase length is generally less than four words. The verbal repertoire is almost exclusively composed of content words (nouns and verbs), with a notable absence of function words (prepositions and conjunctions). Functional comprehension is present but patients have trouble following complex grammatical statements and can have great difficulty forming and understanding complete sentences. Aphasics can make mistakes in following directions like “left, right, under, and after.”
Examples of Broca’s aphasia:
"Yes ... Monday ... Dad, and Dad ... hospital, and ... Wednesday, Wednesday, nine o'clock and ... Thursday, ten o'clock ... doctors, two, two ... doctors and ... teeth, yah. And a doctor
... girl, and gums, and I."
"Me ... build-ing ... chairs, no, no cab-in-ets.
One, saw ... then, cutting wood ... working ..."
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For example, ‘The cat was chased by the dog.’ may be difficult for a Broca’s aphasic to understand because it requires knowledge of passive grammatical construction to understand. But, ‘The car was chased by the dog.’ may be understood because regardless of the word order, dogs tend to chase cars rather than the other way around, so the aphasia patient can rely on life experience to interpret the meaning. Broca's aphasics are able to distinguish intonational contours. While active sentences like, ‘The man kisses the woman.’ are interpreted correctly by Broca’s aphasics, patients perform as guessing in tasks in which passive sentences like, ‘The man is kissed by the woman.’ Similarly, they are able to interpret subject relative sentences like, ‘The cat that is biting the dog is black.’ But not object relative sentences like, ‘The cat that the dog is biting is black.’ (Goodglass,
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