Vol. 7 nº 4 - Oct/Nov/Dec de 2013
Original Article Páginas: 424 a 427

Non-literal language and semantic dementia

Authors Mariana Ribeiro Hur1; Leonardo Caixeta2


keywords: frontotemporal lobar degeneration, language, language tests, semantic dementia.

Semantic dementia is characterized by fluent, phonologically adequate speech with various anomias and semantic paraphasias. Performance on semantic tasks is well documented in these patients, although little is known regarding performance on more complex language tasks, such as those involving non-literal language (interpretation of metaphors and proverbs and recognition of irony).
OBJECTIVE: To report the investigation of non-literal language in cases of semantic dementia.
METHODS: Two cases of semantic dementia were investigated for the presence of deficits in non-literal language abilities using the screening test for Alzheimer's disease with proverbs, metaphor test and irony test.
RESULTS: Both patients were found to have low performance on the tests applied, particularly for interpretation of proverbs.
CONCLUSION: This poor performance was attributed largely to the characteristic semantic changes of the disease, but some frontal symptoms inherent to other forms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration were also observed which interfered in the testing, such as negativism, reduced attention span, concretism and perseverations.


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