Disentangling bilingualism and aphasia using narrative analysis

Aviva Lerman, Joel Walters, Merav Raveh-Malka, Mali Gil, Carmit Altman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Bilingualism and aphasia can present with the same linguistic manifestations, particularly when one language is only acquired to a moderate level of proficiency. Thus, in this chapter, we examine a wide range of narrative features in order to try to distinguish language production in healthy bilingualism from language production in people with aphasia (PWA). Narratives were elicited from bilingual and monolingual people with conductive or anomic aphasia and from healthy bilingual and monolingual adults, and were transcribed and coded for macrostructure, microstructure, and fluency features. Quantitative findings showed that the narratives of PWA were distinguishable from those of healthy adults primarily by grammaticality (particularly for bilingual PWA), and to a lesser extent by verb diversity and by fluency, but not by macrostructure categories, narrative length, or sentence complexity. These findings, together with a qualitative analysis of the results, highlight the importance of carefully analyzing individual data as well as both languages of bilingual PWA.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in the Neurolinguistic Study of Multilingual and Monolingual Adults
Subtitle of host publicationIn honor of Professor Loraine K. Obler
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003330318
StatePublished - 20 Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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