Describing phonological paraphasias in three variants of primary progressive aphasia

Sarah Grace Hudspeth Dalton, Christine Shultz, Maya L. Henry, Argye E. Hillis, Jessica D. Richardsona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the linguistic environment of phonological paraphasias in 3 variants of primary progressive aphasia (semantic, logopenic, and nonfluent) and to describe the profiles of paraphasia production for each of these variants. Method: Discourse samples of 26 individuals diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia were investigated for phonological paraphasias using the criteria established for the Philadelphia Naming Test (Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, 2013). Phonological paraphasias were coded for paraphasia type, part of speech of the target word, target word frequency, type of segment in error, word position of consonant errors, type of error, and degree of change in consonant errors. Results: Eighteen individuals across the 3 variants produced phonological paraphasias. Most paraphasias were nonword, followed by formal, and then mixed, with errors primarily occurring on nouns and verbs, with relatively few on function words. Most errors were substitutions, followed by addition and deletion errors, and few sequencing errors. Errors were evenly distributed across vowels, consonant singletons, and clusters, with more errors occurring in initial and medial positions of words than in the final position of words. Most consonant errors consisted of only a single-feature change, with few 2- or 3-feature changes. Importantly, paraphasia productions by variant differed from these aggregate results, with unique production patterns for each variant. Conclusions: These results suggest that a system where paraphasias are coded as present versus absent may be insufficient to adequately distinguish between the 3 subtypes of PPA. The 3 variants demonstrate patterns that may be used to improve phenotyping and diagnostic sensitivity. These results should be integrated with recent findings on phonological processing and speech rate. Future research should attempt to replicate these results in a larger sample of participants with longer speech samples and varied elicitation tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-349
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number1S
StatePublished - Mar 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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