Poster D52, Friday, August 17, 4:45 – 6:30 pm, Room 2000AB

Formulaic language in bilingual individuals with Parkinson’s Disease: A comparison with healthy controls

Binna Lee1,2, Diana Van Lancker Sidtis1,2;1New York University, 2Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY

INTRODUCTION Previous studies reported an impoverished production of formulaic language in natural production for English speakers diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (Bridges et al., 2013; Sidtis, 2012; Sidtis et al., 2015). These findings, which substantiate the notion of subcortical involvement in the modulation and processing of fixed expressions, probed monolingual speakers with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) only. Little is known regarding how language performance in two languages might be manifested in PD. The current study aims to explore whether formulaic language performance will differ across the first (L1) and second language (L2) in bilingual speakers with PD. METHOD Participants: Korean-English bilinguals with PD (B-PD group) and matched healthy bilingual controls (B-HC) participated in the study. A group of native speakers of American-English served as an additional healthy control group (English healthy control: E-HC) to determine the extent of L2 competency in the bilingual speakers. Participants in both B-PD and B-HC groups were immigrants in the US and late bilinguals, acquiring Korean as L1 (at birth) and English as L2 (after puberty). Each group consisted of 11 participants and were closely matched on gender, approximate age, and years of education. For the bilingual groups with and without PD, L2 proficiency was controlled for based on a comprehensive language questionnaire and a word translation test in both languages. Procedures: All participants performed three structured tasks and a spontaneous production task. The structured tasks involved auditory picture-matching (comprehension task), retrieval of formulaic expressions with cueing (sentence completion task), and implicit/explicit knowledge on the form of formulaic sequences (judgment-correction task). For each structured task, scores were obtained by calculating percent accuracy. To assess spontaneous production, a conversational speech sample was recorded and transcribed. The proportion of formulaic expressions in each sample was obtained for each participant. Comparisons were made across languages (L1 vs L2) and across groups. RESULTS Findings revealed a significant impairment in both comprehension and production of formulaic language in L1 in the B-PD group when compared with B-HC. Specifically, B-PD scored significantly lower on the auditory picture-matching test in L1 when compared with B-HC. Also, in the conversational sample, B-PD demonstrated significantly reduced proportions of formulaic expressions in L1 than B-HC. There was no difference between B-PD and B-HC regarding the completion task and judgment-correct test in L1. Regarding L2 (English), B-PD performed similarly to B-HC in all tasks, including spontaneous production. When comparing the English performance of both B-PD and B-HC to E-HC group, as expected, the native speakers of English exceeded performance on all three structured tasks. Interestingly, for English production, the proportion of formulaic language was similar across the three groups. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION The results of this study contribute to the growing body of literature on the impoverishment of formulaic language production following subcortical dysfunction. Additionally, findings here demonstrate a selective impairment of formulaic language in L1 but not L2, further supporting a proposal of L1 implicit language processing relating to basal ganglia. The current study provides a basis for future studies on subcortical lesions associated with bilingualism and language deficits.

Topic Area: Language Disorders

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