A dedicated neural mechanism for vowel selection: A case of relative vowel deficit sparing the number lexicon

Carlo Semenza, Giulia M L Bencini, Laura Bertella, Ileana Mori, Riccardo Pignatti, Francesca Ceriani, Danielle Cherrick, Emanuela Magno Caldognetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We report the case of an Italian speaker (GBC), with classical Wernicke's aphasia following a vascular lesion in the posterior middle temporal region. GBC exhibited a selective deficit in spoken language production affecting vowels more than consonants. In reading from a newspaper, GBC substituted vowels for other vowels from the Italian inventory at a rate of 7/1 compared to consonants. No effects of frequency or grammatical class were found. Vowel errors could also not be accounted for by morphological or known phonological processes. Production of number words, in contrast, was free from phonological errors. While GBC has intact representations of Italian vowels and consonants, his data argue for a separate selection mechanism for vowels that is dissociable from that used for consonants. This case provides neuropsychological evidence for models of word production that distinguish between the abstract phonological properties of a word (e.g., sequencing of phonemic slots, or "CV skeleton") and a separate representation for the specific sounds (melody).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-430
Number of pages6
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Aphasia
  • Consonants
  • Number words
  • Vowel production
  • Vowels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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