Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) treatment in L1 and L2 in bilingual aphasia: Effects of cognitive and language factors

Alina Bihovsky, Michal Ben-Shachar, Natalia Meir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Semantic Feature Analysis (SFA) treatment has been proven to be effective in alleviating word finding difficulties in individuals with aphasia. However, there is no consensus on the impact of SFA on naming abilities and general language skills in bilingual persons with aphasia (BiPWAs), nor on factors that determine the success of the SFA treatment. Aims: This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of SFA treatment in a group of L1-Russian–L2-Hebrew chronic stage BiPWAs and to evaluate the contribution of background factors, language and cognitive measures on the treatment success. Methods & Procedures: The current study included two groups of BiPWAs. In the experimental group (n=10), six individuals received SFA therapy in both languages and four individuals in L2. The delayed-treatment group (n=10) did not receive therapy and served as a control group. All BiPWAs completed the Bilingual Aphasia Test (BAT) in both languages, as well as a battery of 10 cognitive tests and linguistic background questionnaires. Outcome & Results: The results indicated a direct effect of SFA treatment on naming as well as within-language generalization and cross-language transfer. Importantly, we found significant improvements of general language skills in the treated and untreated languages in BiPWAs who received SFA treatment, while no such improvement was observed in the control group. Non-verbal inhibition and verbal working memory in L1-Russian predicted success of SFA treatment in BiPWAs. Conclusions: SFA therapy has positive effects on naming ability of BiPWAs. In addition, SFA therapy affects general language skills in BiPWAs. Yet, within-language generalization, cross-linguistic transfer, and maintenance of the treatment results vary across individuals. The success of SFA treatment in BiPWAs is predicted by cognitive functions rather than background factors of bilingualism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-711
Number of pages29
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2024


  • Bilingual aphasia
  • SFA treatment
  • cognitive factors
  • cross-linguistic transfer
  • within-language generalization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • LPN and LVN


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