Citing sources: Exercises

Exercise 2

Report David Carroll's explanation of the problems in speaking caused by injury to Broca's area.


The disorder BROCA'S APHASIA, also known as EXPRESSIVE APHASIA, was discovered by and named after the French surgeon Paul Broca. Broca studied individuals who, after a stroke or accident, displayed halting, agrammatic speech. These individuals were often unable to express themselves by more than a single word at a time. Moreover, some parts of their speech were more affected than others: content words such as nouns and verbs were usually well preserved, whereas function words such as adjectives and articles were not. ...

The clear difficulty in articulating speech by Broca's aphasics might lead us to believe its agrammatic nature is due to a voluntary economy of effort. That is, since articulation is so difficult - they speak slowly and often confuse related sounds - perhaps Broca's aphasics are trying to save effort by expressing only the most important words. Although this factor may have some role in the disorder, it is not the most important feature since many Broca's aphasics do no better after repeated self-correction. Moreover, the writing of these patients is usually at least as impaired as their speech, and individual words of grammatical context are spared. These considerations suggest that the main feature of this disorder is the loss of the ability to express grammatical relationships, either in speech or in writing.

(David Carroll: Psychology of Language. Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, New York. 1994, pages 345-6.)

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