Analysis of Verb Expressions in the Conversational Speech of Kannada-English Speaking Bilingual Persons with Mild Dementia

Deepa M. S., Shyamala K. C.


Dementia is characterized by the breakdown of intellectual and communicative functioning accompanied by personality change (DSM IV, American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Persons with dementia often experience difficulty in naming skills which can be attributed to semantic memory deficits. This can further influence various linguistic expressions such as lexical and morphological structures. The present study aimed to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze the presence of different types of verb inflections in bilingual (Kannada-English) persons with mild dementia. Considered for the study were 10 healthy elderly and 10 persons with mild dementia who were Kannada-English bilinguals. Spontaneous, conversational speech in all the participants was transcribed from which different types of verb inflexions in Kannada were extracted and analyzed. They included infinite verb, imperative verbs, negative imperatives, optative, and participle verbs. These were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed for mean number of verbs and their nature including code mixing and switching identifying the significant differences between the two groups of participants. Results suggest that these measures offer a sensitive method for differentiating persons with mild dementia from healthy elderly. The study further helps in delineating prognostic indicator and planning rehabilitative measures which can be helpful tool for management.

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Copyright (c) 2019 Deepa Mysore Srikant, Shyamala Chengappa

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