Glossary

aphasia A disorder of language produced by damage to the language zone, usually in the left hemisphere of the brain. Aphasia is not due to the inability to articulate language but is caused by damage to language representations or mechanisms.

circumlocution When a target word cannot be retrieved, a multiword response describing the characteristics of the object it names. For example, "you write with it'' for "pen."

confrontation naming A task used to evaluate a person's ability to spontaneously name an object or an action; either a picture or an actual object is presented to the person for him or her to name, or a picture, pantomime, or video enactment of an action is presented to the person to elicit its name.

literal (or phonemic) paraphasia Sound substitutions or additions that result in either an unintended real-word utterance or a nonsense utterance. For example, with the word target flea, the utterances free, fleep, and flur would all be classified as literal paraphasias.

perseveration The unintended repetition of an idea, verbal utterance, or motor output.

verbal (semantic) paraphasia Substitution of a real word for a verbal target; if the substituted word is semantically related to a verbal target, such as leaf for the intended target tree, this would be considered a semantic paraphasia.

Anomia is a profound difficulty in coming up with words in the course of discourse and/or on a naming task, particularly those words that are heavily meaning-laden. This definition presumes both that a word being sought was originally known by the speaker and that the difficulty in retrieval is not due to failed articulation. Anomia is a hallmark of aphasic syndromes and occurs in aphasic persons with fluent, running speech and in aphasic persons with nonfluent, halting speech. That is, all aphasic individuals have word-finding difficulties to some degree. Such difficulties retrieving words are also characteristic of Alzheimer's dementia and, to some extent, of normal aging. This review focuses on the three populations in which anomia, sometimes called dysnomia, is prevalent: persons with aphasia, persons with Alzheimer's disease, and healthy older adults. A review follows of category-, modality-, and grammatical-class-specific anomias and of how these fractionations of word-finding into subtypes inform our understanding of the neuroanatomy of naming. Rehabilitation for anomia and recovery from it are discussed. Finally, a cognitive framework for naming is proposed to provide a means for discussing features of word-finding impairment.

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