ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

5pSP23. An acoustic study of intonation in one aphasic patient.

Benjamin R. Munson, Jr.

Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of California, Los Angeles, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024-1543

An acoustic study of patterns of intonation and phrase-final lengthening was completed for one aphasic patient, referred to as Nick. Nick, who is technically classified as a Broca's aphasic with a large left hemisphere lesion, exhibits an exceptional pattern of language breakdown in that his segmental output has been reduced to the syllable [t[sup h](open oh)]. The results of this study show that the range of Nick's fundamental frequency is within normal range, while his patterns of phrase-final lengthening are abnormal. This finding is interpreted within the framework of current theory on prosody, which claims that intonation is composed of two distinct components: Prosodic structure (which conditions phrase-final lengthening) and tonal melody [J. Pierrehumbert and M. Beckman, Phonology 3 (1986)]. Nick's abnormal patterns of phrase-final lengthening are indicative of a breakdown in the prosodic structure component of intonation, while his intact fundamental frequency range illustrates an intact tonal melody component. Nick's selective impairment of prosodic structure provides further evidence that the two components of intonation are processed by different mechanisms, a claim suggested in previous work [D. Van Lancker and J. Sidtis, J. Speech Hear. Res. 35, 936--970 (1992)]. [Work supported by NIH.]