Loosening up the language

Colin Lyall Brighton & Hove Connect member looks into new Aphasia research

Why is it that some sentences are easier to produce for people with aphasia, but others are difficult? More complicated sentences are more difficult. But it is also important how often you hear or say a sentence. 'I don't know' and 'You don't know' are very similar. But 'I don't know' is easier for people with aphasia to say and understand.

When the brain becomes damaged, these common sentences become much easier to use. We call these sentences 'formulas'*. Some people with aphasia rely on formulas. This is helpful. But formulas also have their limits. New situations require new sentences. If you only use formulas, your brain is not as flexible. In our research, we are looking at formulas in aphasia. We use a computer programme to measure how much a person uses formulas. Our final goal is to use formulas for therapy. One idea is to use formulas as a starting point and then loosen them up. This will help people be more flexible and effective in their communication. Colin and Vitor at UCL.
*A formula is a string of words that are commonly used together
2 years ago