Lexical Ambiguity Resolution Using Discourse Contexts in Persons With and Without Aphasia Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the ability of persons with aphasia (PWA) to resolve different types of ambiguous words (homophones, metaphors, and metonyms) in discourse contexts. Method Six PWA and 10 controls listened to short discourses that biased either the dominant (more frequent) or ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2016
Lexical Ambiguity Resolution Using Discourse Contexts in Persons With and Without Aphasia
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Amy Henderson
    Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • Heather Harris Wright
    Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Amy Henderson: Amy.Henderson83@gmail.com
  • Editor: Anastasia Raymer
    Editor: Anastasia Raymer×
  • Associate Editor: Jessica Richardson
    Associate Editor: Jessica Richardson×
Article Information
Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Supplement: Select Papers From the 45th Clinical Aphasiology Conference / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2016
Lexical Ambiguity Resolution Using Discourse Contexts in Persons With and Without Aphasia
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, December 2016, Vol. 25, S839-S853. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0137
History: Received September 16, 2015 , Revised April 1, 2016 , Accepted November 7, 2016
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, December 2016, Vol. 25, S839-S853. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0137
History: Received September 16, 2015; Revised April 1, 2016; Accepted November 7, 2016

Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the ability of persons with aphasia (PWA) to resolve different types of ambiguous words (homophones, metaphors, and metonyms) in discourse contexts.

Method Six PWA and 10 controls listened to short discourses that biased either the dominant (more frequent) or subordinate (less frequent) version of an ambiguous word as well as nonsense (filler) discourses. Participants then indicated whether or not the final sentence, which contained the ambiguity, made sense in the discourse. Data for both accuracy and reaction time were collected.

Results There was no significant Group × Word Type × Frequency interaction in the reaction time data. In the accuracy analysis, there was a significant Group × Frequency × Word Type interaction, which appeared to be driven by the PWA's relative accuracy with subordinate homophones and relative inaccuracy with subordinate metaphors.

Conclusions These results suggest that PWA were able to use discourse contexts to resolve subordinate versions of literal ambiguous words but have difficulty resolving metaphoric ambiguous words. Further investigations should be done to clarify how much context PWA require to successfully resolve lexical ambiguities.

Acknowledgments
We would like to thank Stephen Kintz, Nicole Frisco, and the undergraduate students in the East Carolina University Aging and Adult Language Disorders Lab for their assistance with this article.
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