Browsing by Subject "novel word learning"

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  • Elo, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Background and aims. Aphasia is a linguistic disorder most commonly caused by stroke. Aphasia manifests itself as difficulties in understanding and producing spoken or written language. Rehabilitation from aphasia requires the ability to learn. Previous studies have shown that individuals with chronic aphasia are able to learn and remember novel vocabulary in varying degrees. In addition, studies have shown that self-repair of speech is interrelated with linguistic recovery. However, the relationship between self-repair of connected speech and novel word acquisition in the non-chronic and chronic stages of aphasia has not previously been studied. The objective of this thesis is to describe the self-repair of connected speech and novel word learning ability in aphasic individuals and to determine whether self-repair and the ability to learn novel words are interrelated in the subacute (0–3 months) and chronic (12 months) stages of aphasia. Participants and methods. Four aphasic individuals were examined 0–3 months and again 12 months post-stroke within the Opi Sanoja research project at the University of Helsinki. Participants completed a computer-assisted learning experiment in which their aim was to learn the associations between novel words and images. Connected speech was collected from participants’ speech samples in a picture narration task, a stroke narrative and a thematic interview. The speech samples were transcribed according to the conventions used in conversation analysis and self-repairs were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively at both points in time. The relationship between self-repair and novel word acquisition was analyzed on a case-by-case basis and a group-level basis using scatter graphs and regression plots. Results and conclusions. Self-repairs of connected speech decreased and changed during the first year after stroke for all participants. The ability to learn novel words varied among the participants, but some participants were able to learn new words in the subacute and chronic stages of aphasia. On a case-by-case basis, no relationship was found between self-repair of connected speech and the ability to learn novel words in the subacute or chronic stages of aphasia. The learning ability in the subacute stage did not appear to predict the amount of self-repairs, nor the length of non-repaired problem sequences in the chronic stage. At the group level, in the subacute stage, there was a weak positive correlation between learning ability and self-correction rates, which turned negative in the chronic stage. There appeared to be a weak negative correlation between the length of non-repaired problem sequences and the ability to learn in the subacute stage, which disappeared in the chronic stage. However, group-level results were unreliable due to small sample size.
  • Martinsuo, Maija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Background. Aphasia refers to a disability in the processing of linguistic information. It is most typically due to a stroke. Aphasia impairs a person's ability to understand, produce and use language. Recovery from aphasia is generally divided into three main stages: acute, subacute and chronic. So far, the ability to learn new words in aphasia has only been studied in chronic aphasia. Learning new words is a complex process. In natural language learning, the relationship between a word and its meaning is often not unambiguous, but the words and their possible meanings are numerous, and the connections are complex. The learning of new words can take place by hearing or by reading. The prerequisite for rehabilitation from aphasia is the ability to learn new things, but aphasia research typically uses familiar and everyday words. However, the use of familiar words in research makes it difficult to interpret the results. In order to assess whether a person with aphasia is able to learn new vocabulary, research must be done on a vocabulary that was not available to the person before aphasia. Objectives. The aim of this thesis is to determine, whether people with subacute aphasia can learn novel vocabulary in a situation that imitates natural language learning. This thesis also investigates how the learning ability of people with aphasia compares to the learning ability of healthy matched controls in the same task and how the matched controls learn compared to healthy young adults. Methods. The participants of the study consisted of three groups: young controls, matched controls and aphasic participants. The aphasic participants were examined at HUS Hospital District in Laakso Hospital in Helsinki and in Hyvinkää Hospital. The word learning task consisted of six 3-syllable nonwords that were practiced using a computer program. The task was to combine a spoken and written novel word with the correct novel image, choosing from two different images. Results and conclusions. Learning novel words is possible in subacute aphasia. However, there was great variability in the ability to learn between the aphasic participants. Some learned the words well, others learned some words, and some did not seem to learn the words at all. In addition, some of aphasic participants in the subacute stage were able to maintain the vocabulary they learned for at least a week after learning. Some of the aphasic participants learned the words on par with matched controls but for some the learning was significantly weaker. Both young adults and matched controls performed well on the learning task, but young adults learn the words faster than matched controls.