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A neurolinguistic study on telegraphic style utterances in Aphasia: the challenge of understanding inter- and intra-case variations

Grant number: 17/26777-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2019
Effective date (End): December 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics
Principal Investigator:Rosana Do Carmo Novaes Pinto
Grantee:Arnaldo Rodrigues de Lima
Home Institution: Instituto de Estudos da Linguagem (IEL). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):19/24150-8 - A functional approach to telegraphic style utterances: contribution to the study of the relation between thought and language, BE.EP.DR


One of the reasons why Linguistics focuses on language in pathologies - especially Aphasia - is that the data that arises in this field help corroborate or refute hypotheses about its functioning in states that are considered "normal". According to Canguilhem (1995 [1943]), it would be impossible to know today what is considered "normal" without the lessons of pathologies. Agrammatism is among the most studied clinical categories in the scope of Aphasias and its main feature is the production of the "telegraphic style utterances", defined in relation to the absence and/or substitution of closed classes morphemes. One of the questions from which researchers most diverge is that of heterogeneity among cases, on one hand, and the variability of productions of the same subject, on the other. The main goal of this research is to better understand some of the intra- and inter-case variations in telegraphic style utterances produced by non-fluent aphasic subjects, which means to consider the variations: (a) most related to the impact of the brain lesion in areas that are relevant to linguistic functioning; (b) most subjective, such as the relationship of aphasic subjects to their language production; and (c) the production of nonverbal alternative resources (with emphasis on gestural production), after the neurological onset. This research seeks therefore to contribute, from a neurolinguistic approach, to theories that aim to explain the relation between thought and language. Among the specific goals, we mention: (i) to discuss the influence of variables such as the locus and extent of the brain lesion, the form of Aphasia and the features of the utterances produced by different non-fluent aphasic subjects; (ii) to evaluate the influence of discursive genres, literacy practices of the subjects investigated and conditions of production of telegraphic style utterances; (iii) analyze the models that aim to explain the complex process of production of verbal utterances, from the formulation of the speech-will until its organization into a logical-grammatical structure that can be shared with and understood by the interlocutors. We seek to articulate these reflections to the theoretical postulates about the relationship between thought and language that has been developed by Akhutina (1975, 2003, 2015), based on models proposed by Vygotsky (1934), Luria (1947) and Leontiev (1969). In the discursive approach, extra-linguistic and subjective factors are taken into account both to understand the language changes in the different forms of Aphasia and also to guide therapeutic follow up. Four aphasic subjects that attend Group 3 of Centro de Convivência de Afásicos (CCA) - BM, BS, GB and TR - will be invited to participate in the research. Their utterances are predominantly non-fluent and mainly produced in a telegraphic style. All the activities developed in the interactions with aphasic subjects at CCA are video-recorded and registered in a diary. The transcripts are discursive, adapted from NURC project and the analyses are guided by the microgenetic paradigm. The project will be submitted to CEP (Comitê de Ética em Pesquisa)/UNICAMP and all participants will sign the Informed Consent Form. In order to reach the research objectives, data of two different nature will be considered, most of them obtained in the interactive episodes between aphasic and non-aphasic subjects, in group and in individual sessions at CCA. Other data will be obtained through the use of metalinguistic assessment tools, some of which were developed along the Master's research, in order to elicit telegraphic style statements, seeking to formulate hypotheses about inter- and intra-case variations, especially those relative to the omissions and/or difficulties of selection of free and bound grammatical morphemes. (AU)