Do subcortical structures control 'language selection' in polyglots? Evidence from pathological language mixing

Jubin Abutalebi, Antonio Miozzo, Stefano F. Cappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the field of multilinguism, 'switching' defines a mechanism operating automatically when speakers shift among different languages. While the neural basis of this mechanism is unknown, recent studies of polyglot aphasia have suggested a possible role of subcortical structures. We report a case of subcortical polyglot aphasia which provides further evidence for a role of the basal ganglia in the switching mechanism. A polyglot female (Armenian-English-Italian), after a subcortical infarction in the language dominant hemisphere, developed a non-fluent aphasia characterized by pathological mixing among these languages in oral production tasks. This case confirms that damage to subcortical structures may result in different types of dysfunction in the mechanisms implicated in the selection of languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
JournalNeurocase
Volume6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Basal ganglia lesion
  • Language output control
  • Language switching
  • Polyglot aphasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)

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