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How Stroke Affects Language

Expressive Aphasia
Damage to a language center located on the dominant side of the brain, known as Broca's area, causes expressive aphasia. People with expressive aphasia:
  • Have difficulty conveying their thoughts through words or writing
  • Lose the ability to speak the words they are thinking
  • Lose the ability to put words together in coherent, grammatically correct sentences.
Receptive Aphasia
Damage to a language center located in a rear portion of the brain, called Wernicke's area, results in receptive aphasia. People with receptive aphasia:
  • Have difficulty understanding spoken or written language
  • Often have incoherent speech
  • May be able to form grammatically correct sentences, but their utterances are often devoid of meaning.
Global Aphasia
The most severe form of aphasia, called global aphasia, is caused by extensive damage to several areas involved in language function. People with global aphasia:
  • Lose nearly all their linguistic abilities
  • Cannot understand language
  • Cannot use language to convey thought.
Anomic or Amnesic Aphasia
A less severe form of aphasia, called anomic or amnesic aphasia, occurs when there is only a minimal amount of brain damage; its effects are often quite subtle. People with anomic aphasia may selectively forget interrelated groups of words, such as the names of people or particular kinds of objects.
(Click Aphasia for more information about this symptom of brain damage involving problems using or understanding language.)
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