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Title: A dedicated neural mechanism for vowel selection: A case of relative vowel deficit sparing the number lexicon
Authors: Semenza, Carlo
Bencini, Giulia M.L.
Bertella, Laura
Mori, Ileana
Pignatti, Riccardo
Ceriani, Francesca
Cherrick, Danielle
Magno Caldognetto, Emanuela
Keywords: Vowels
Vowel production
Number words
Issue Date: 2006
Abstract: We report the case of an Italian speaker (GBC), with classical Wernicke’s aphasia following a vascular lesion in the posterior middle temporal region. GBC exhibited a selective deficit in spoken language production affecting vowels more than consonants. In reading from a newspaper, GBC substituted vowels for other vowels from the Italian inventory at a rate of 7/1 compared to consonants. No effects of frequency or grammatical class were found. Vowel errors could also not be accounted for by morphological or known phonological processes. Production of number words, in contrast, was free from phonological errors. While GBC has intact representations of Italian vowels and consonants, his data argue for a separate selection mechanism for vowels that is dissociable from that used for consonants. This case provides neuropsychological evidence for models of word production that distinguish between the abstract phonological properties of a word (e.g., sequencing of phonemic slots, or “CV skeleton”) and a separate representation for the specific sounds (melody).
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