Afbeelding waarop mensen communiceren
Afbeelding waarop mensen communiceren

Corpus-based research into intra- and interpersonal language variation in people with aphasia

2023 until 2028
Project type

People with aphasia (PWA) experience language impairments due to acquired brain damage. Optimal societal participation for PWA can be achieved through timely language therapy and the provision of suitable speech and language technology tools to support intervention and communication. However, clinical tools and speech and language technologies are, to date, not optimally effective for people with aphasia. For example, although there are several evidence-based treatment methods available, its effectiveness is often demonstrated by averaging the results of different individuals with aphasia. Although significant effects are sometimes found at group level, there are large differences in therapy effects at individual level. 

Both clinical measures and speech and language technologies are based on common denominators that are assumed to be true for all individuals with the same language disorder (i.e., group-level approach). However, PWA show considerable variability in language performance. That is, there is considerable variation, not only between but also within these speakers.

Fundamentally, an understanding of individual variability in language performance is lacking. What mechanisms drive individual variability, and how can they best be captured, interpreted, and dealt with for clinical and technological purposes? Therefore, the goal of this project is to measure and capture these individual differences, especially the within-speaker differences. This knowledge, will - in the long term – allow improvement of clinical and technological solutions for PWA. 

In order to allow assessment of within-speaker variability in verbal responses, various language tasks at the word, sentence and discourse level will be administered. The tasks range from more to less constrained. (Only) with the participants’ consent, audiovisual recordings and/or transcripts will be included in a data repository, called the Dutch Aphasia Bank, which will (also) be made available to other researchers. The Dutch Aphasia Bank thus provides an impetus for broader scientific aphasia research in the Netherlands.



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