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Is Language a Factor in the Perception of Foreign Accent Syndrome?

Jose, L and Read, J and Miller, N (2015) Is Language a Factor in the Perception of Foreign Accent Syndrome? Language and Speech. ISSN 0023-8309 (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Neurogenic foreign accent syndrome (FAS) is diagnosed when listeners perceive speech associated with motor speech impairments as foreign rather than disordered. Speakers with foreign accent syndrome typically have aphasia. It remains unclear how far language changes might contribute to the perception of foreign accent syndrome independent of accent. Judges with and without training in language analysis rated orthographic transcriptions of speech from people with foreign accent syndrome, speech-language disorder and no foreign accent syndrome, foreign accent without neurological impairment and healthy controls on scales of foreignness, normalness and disorderedness. Control speakers were judged as significantly more normal, less disordered and less foreign than other groups. Foreign accent syndrome speakers’ transcriptions consistently profiled most closely to those of foreign speakers and significantly different to speakers with speech-language disorder. On normalness and foreignness ratings there were no significant differences between foreign and foreign accent syndrome speakers. For disorderedness, foreign accent syndrome participants fell midway between foreign speakers and those with speech-language impairment only. Slower rate, more hesitations, pauses within and between utterances influenced judgments, delineating control scripts from others. Word-level syntactic and morphological deviations and reduced syntactic and semantic repertoire linked strongly with foreignness perceptions. Greater disordered ratings related to word fragments, poorly intelligible grammatical structures and inappropriate word selection. Language changes influence foreignness perception. Clinical and theoretical issues are addressed.

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