Honors Projects


Breawna HealFollow


Aphasia is a language disorder that is caused to the brain (Shames, Wiig, Secord, 1998) This damage may be caused by a stroke, traumatic brain injury, lesions to the brain, or degenerative neurological diseases(Shames, Wiig, Secord, 1998). Depending on the location of the brain damage, a person with aphasia will present with different communication impairments. People with fluent aphasia produce speech that may feature many grammatical errors or incorrectly produced words but their speech retains a typical speaking rhythm. People with fluent aphasia’s speech is much slower and more halting, and there tends to be frequent and lengthy pauses between words. People with mixed aphasia have moderate production and comprehension difficulties. Global aphasia is characterized by severe production and comprehension difficulties.

The participants in this research project are people who have Broca’s aphasia, a type of non-fluent aphasia. Broca’s aphasia is caused by lesions to Broca’s area that is in the left frontal lobe. Broca’s aphasia is associated with several symptoms; word retrieval difficulties, frequent pauses in speech, and errors in fluidity (Shames, Wiig, Secord, 1998). People with Broca’s aphasia frequently exhibit paraphasias in their speech. Paraphasias are speech errors that are can be characterized by phonemic substitutions for instance saying “kroom” instead of “boom”. Another type of paraphasia is a semantic substitution, this is when the patient replaces a full word including the meaning, for instance saying “flower” for “grass” (Brookshire, 2015).

The goal of treatment is to lessen the patient’s day to day communication struggles, these goals will depend on the patient and the severity of the aphasia (Brookshire, 2015).We utilized speech samples from a Speech-Language Pathology directed narrative therapy session in this research project. We acquired these narrative speech samples from an online database called AphasiaBank. We analyzed these narrative speech samples and discovered the frequency in language each word has by using the SUBTlexus Corpus.

Through the SUBTlexus Corpus we were able to look up each word’s word frequency. Word frequency is something that people might not consciously thinking about but word frequency has effected all of us. The difference between reading a doctoral thesis or a tabloid magazine is word frequency. The higher word frequency the more frequent the word is in language and subsequently it is easier for you to read. A low frequency word comes up less frequently in language and is proportionately harder to read (Oxford University Press, 2007).

We will be using the FREQcount feature of the SUBTlexus corpus. The SUBTlexus is an advanced version of Kucera and Francis. Kucera and Francis was a corpus made up of Anglo-Saxon writings that they based word frequency on. SUBTlexus is far more technologically advanced and computerized than the previous Kucera and Francis (Hudson, 2003). The SUBTlexus uses manuscripts from all crevices of the English language.

Word errors and word frequency in people with Broca’s aphasia in a narrative is important to investigate. This is a critical gap in research because there is no research out there that addresses this possible correlation. Also there is little research on people with Broca’s Aphasia speaking for longer periods of time, like they do with the narratives. Knowing the extent of this correlation will not only fill this research gap but will also aid Speech-Language Pathologists with therapy.


Communication Sciences and Disorders


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Brent Archer

First Advisor Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Second Advisor

Jari Willing

Second Advisor Department


Publication Date

Spring 5-12-2019