Presenting on Cypriot Greek Aphasia at PNCLR

On the 20th of April 2019, I will presenting our (Karayiannis, Georgiou, Grohmann & Kambanaros) work at the 7th Novi Sad workshop on Psycholinguistic, neurolinguistic and clinical linguistic research. The book of abstracts is here, and I am reproducing our abstract below:

Linguistic Impairment Profiles in Four Post-Stroke Aphasia Case Studies: Exploring the Role of Dialectal Micro-Variation

Demetris Karayiannis1, Anastasios M. Georgiou2, Kleanthes K. Grohmann1 & Maria Kambanaros2

Four Cypriot Greek-speaking patients with chronic post-stroke aphasia (3 fluent and 1 non-fluent) were enrolled in a study investigating the efficacy of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for chronic aphasia post-stroke. As part of the study, a linguistic analysis of connected speech samples was pursued. This analysis was conducted blind to the medical history of the participants and their performance in other verbal and non-verbal tests.

Four extended narrative samples (two prior treatment, one post treatment, one follow-up) were elicited from each participant using the Baby Goats stimulus from the Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN) (Gagarina et al., 2012). To analyse the narratives collected, the Quantitative Production Analysis (QPA) protocol (Saffran, Berndt, & Schwartz, 1989), as adopted for Modern Greek by Varkanitsa (2012), was employed. The QPA yielded measures of morphosyntactic complexity and overall sentence elaboration, as well as descriptive information about the proportion of words by grammatical category. An error type analysis was also pursued following Varkanitsa (2012).

The protocol revealed two patterns of performance. The first group (patients A and X) produced more elaborate sentences compared to the second group (patients I and M) as shown by their sentence elaboration and sentence embedding scores. A and X produced on average more narrative words than I and M, leading to higher MLUs. The first group also produced a higher number of lexical nouns pre-treatment than the second group, while the second group produced more pronouns at the expense of lexical nouns. The error type analysis did not yield as strong predictions as the QPA did, but when approached qualitatively, the second group showed more semantic infelicitousness than the first group. On aggregate, verbal morphology appeared relatively less affected than nominal morphology in the productions of all participants. This was a surprising result vis-a-vis verbal domain impairments reported for Modern Standard Greek-speaking people with aphasia. Cypriot Greek-speakers' performance in this study differs from Standard Modern Greek-speakers' performance both as regards the different levels of impairment in the nominal domain vs the verbal domain, and the dissociation of performance of Agreement vs Tense vs Aspect within the verbal domain (Fyndanis, Arcara, Christidou, & Caplan, 2018; Fyndanis, Varlokosta, & Tsapkini, 2012; Nanousi, Masterson, Druks, & Atkinson, 2006; Tsapkini, Jarema, & Kehayia, 2001).

The results indicate some predictive power for the QPA protocol, but they also raise some concerns about its suitability for languages with the typological characteristics of (Cypriot) Greek (possible relevant factors: being a null subject language; consistent Aspect marking in verbal morphology). More careful adaptation of QPA could benefit practitioners and help with screening for aphasia syndromes.

Moreover, the study provides new data for aphasic speech in a linguistic variety that has not been as extensively studied as Greece’s Standard Modern Greek. Diverging impairment patterns could provide insights in the role of structural micro-variation in the verbal domain between the two varieties.


Fyndanis, V., Arcara, G., Christidou, P., & Caplan, D. (2018). Morphosyntactic Production and Verbal Working Memory: Evidence From Greek Aphasia and Healthy Aging. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 61(5), 1171–1187. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0103

Fyndanis, V., Varlokosta, S., & Tsapkini, K. (2012). Agrammatic production: Interpretable features and selective impairment in verb inflection. Lingua, 122(10), 1134–1147. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2012.05.004

Gagarina, N., Klop, D., Kunnari, S., Tantele, K., Välimaa, T., Balciuniene, I., … Walters, J. (2012). Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives, 37.

Nanousi, V., Masterson, J., Druks, J., & Atkinson, M. (2006). Interpretable vs. uninterpretable features: Evidence from six Greek-speaking agrammatic patients. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 19(3), 209–238. doi:10.1016/j.jneuroling.2005.11.003

Saffran, E. M., Berndt, R. S., & Schwartz, M. F. (1989). The quantitative analysis of agrammatic production: Procedure and data. Brain and Language, 37(3), 440–479. doi:10.1016/0093-934X(89)90030-8

Tsapkini, K., Jarema, G., & Kehayia, E. (2001). Manifestations of morphological impairments in Greek aphasia: A case study. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 14(2–4), 281–296. doi:10.1016/S0911-6044(01)00018-5

Varkanitsa, M. (2012). Quantitative and error analysis of connected speech: Evidence from Greek-speaking patients with aphasia and normal speakers. Current Trends in Greek Linguistics., 313–338.

  1. University of Cyprus, Cyprus 

  2. Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus 

Category: Presentation

Tags: Novi Sad, neurolinguistics, aphasia, presentation, PNCLR