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Effects of Lexical Frequency and Collocation Strength of Word Combinations on Speech Pause Duration of Individuals with and Without Aphasia

EasyChair Preprint no. 6398

3 pagesDate: August 26, 2021


In aphasia, an increase in number and length of pauses between words contributes to communication difficulties. Pauses in speech (PS) reveal cognitive processes underpinning language production. Previous studies have found that PS was lower before words of higher frequency (Beattie & Butterworth, 1979). However, frequency also manifests as collocation strength between words. Stronger collocations may be processed more holistically, and speakers with aphasia tend to produce more strongly collocated combinations (Zimmerer et al., 2018). In this study, we investigated the effects of lexical frequency and collocation strength on PS in narrations of individuals with aphasia (IWA, n=20) and neurotypical controls (NC, =20). Participants narrated the “Dinner Party” comic sequence (Fletcher & Birt, 1983). IWA participants included both fluent and non-fluent profiles. Linear mixed effect models revealed that IWA showed longer PS (p < .001): If word class was considered, Lexical Frequency effects were not significant (p = .518). However, the effect of collocation was, and PS were shorter within stronger collocations (p < .001). There was an interaction between Group and Collocation Strength, with greater effects of Collocation Strength in IWA (p < .001). An effect size analysis showed greater Coefficient standard on IWA group for Collocation Strength (NC= β(-0.15); IWA = β(-0.23); p < .001) and Lexical Frequency (NC= β(0.01); IWA = β(-0.05), p < .001). PS were influenced by Collocation Strength, supporting the view that strong collocations reduce processing demands. Collocation Strength had a larger effect on pauses in aphasia, suggesting that as analytic capacities decrease, statistical-combinatorial properties exhibit a greater influence on language production. Frequency-based approaches may be valuable in explaining patterns of preservation and impairment in aphasic language production.

Keyphrases: aphasia, Frequency-based approach, language production, Pauses in speech

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Sebastian Bello-Lepe and Sabrina Mahmood and Rosemary Varley and Vitor Zimmerer},
  title = {Effects of Lexical Frequency and Collocation Strength of Word Combinations on Speech Pause Duration of Individuals with and Without Aphasia},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 6398},

  year = {EasyChair, 2021}}
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