Disorders of Repetition of Single Words

Repetition of a word can be carried out in three ways: (i) nonlexically by repeating sounds without recognizing the word (as if one were imitating a foreign language), (ii) lexically by recognizing the stimulus as a word and uttering it without understanding it, and (iii) semantically by understanding the word and reactivating its form from its meaning. Any of these routes to repetition may be disturbed. For instance, one patient could only repeat by the semantic route; this patient made many semantic paraphasias in repetition and could not repeat nonwords. Patients with relatively isolated disturbances affecting the repetition of non-words have been described, reflecting disruption of the nonlexical route. In most cases, patients have a more complicated picture, with lexical status (whether a stimulus is a word or a nonword), word frequency, and stimulus length affecting performance differently in different patients.

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