Dissociated Language Disorders in Bilinguals

Part of the The Bilingual Mind and Brain Book Series book series (BMBBS)


Bilinguals can present language disorders not completely equivalent in their first (L1) and second (L2) languages. In this chapter five neuropsychological conditions that can potentially be linguistically dissociated in bilinguals will be examined: aphasia, alexia, dysphasia, dyslexia, and dementia. In bilingual individuals, aphasia is usually observed in both languages, although the specific aphasia clinical manifestations can be different. The aphasia profile (i.e., type of aphasia) and severity, as well as the pattern of recovery, are not necessarily coincidental in L1 and L2. Alexia can be dissociated across different writing systems, across two phonological systems; and even within the same Latin writing system. In children presenting a specific language acquisition impairment the defect will affect any language the child is exposed to. However, bilingual children are rarely equivalently exposed to each language. Developmental dyslexia can have specific manifestations in each of the languages in bilingual children. These differences are related to the characteristics of the orthographic system, particularly, its transparency or opacity. It is assumed that in bilingual individuals, regression to a primary language may be associated with the development of cognitive impairment and increased risk for the development of dementia.


Language Impairments Aphasia Alexia Dysphasia Dyslexia Dementia 


  1. Abutalebi, J. (2008). Neural aspects of second language representation and language control. Acta Psychologica, 128, 466–478.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Albert, M. L., & Obler, L. K. (1978). The bilingual brain: Neuropsychological and neurolinguisitic aspects of bilingualism (pp. 95–130). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  3. Ardila, A. (2008). Anomia disociada en un bilingüe tardío con mejor conservación de L2 [dissociated anomia in a late bilingual with a better conservation of L2]. Neuropsicología, Neuropsiquiatría y Neurociencias, 8(2), 91–95.Google Scholar
  4. Ardila, A. (2012). Neuropsychology of writing. In E. Grigorenko, E. Mambrino, & D. Preiss (Eds.), Handbook of writing: A mosaic of perspectives and views (pp. 309–321). London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  5. Ardila, A. (2014). Aphasia handbook. Miami, FL: Florida International University.Google Scholar
  6. Ardila, A., & Cuetos, F. (2016). Applicability of dual-route reading models to Spanish. Psicothema, 28(1), 71–75.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bedore, L. M., & Pena, E. D. (2008). Assessment of bilingual children for identification of language impairment: Current findings and implications for practice. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 11(1), 1–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Benson, D. F., & Ardila, A. (1996). Aphasia: A clinical perspective. Oxford: New York.Google Scholar
  9. Caravolas, M., Lervåg, A., Defior, S., Seidlová Málková, G., & Hulme, C. (2013). Different patterns, but equivalent predictors, of growth in reading in consistent and inconsistent orthographies. Psychological Science, 24, 1398e1407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caravolas, M., Lervåg, A., Mousikou, P., Efrim, C., Litavský, M., Onochie-Quintanilla, E., et al. (2012). Common patterns of prediction of literacy development in different alphabetic orthographies. Psychological Science, 23(6), 678–686.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Chung, K. K. H., & Ho, C. S. H. (2010). Second language learning difficulties in Chinese children with dyslexia: What are the reading-related cognitive skills that contribute to English and Chinese word reading? Journal of Learning Disabilities. 43(3):195-211.Google Scholar
  12. Coltheart, M. (1982). The psycholinguistic analysis of acquired dyslexia: Some illustrations. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences., 298(1089), 151–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cuetos, F., & Suárez-Coalla, P. (2009). From grapheme to word in reading acquisition in Spanish. Applied PsychoLinguistics, 30(4), 583–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Picciotto, J., & Friedland, D. (2001). Verbal fluency in elderly bilingual speakers: Normative data and preliminary application to Alzheimer’s disease. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 53, 145–152.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. De Santi, S., Obler, L. K., Sabo-Abrahamson, H., & Goldberger, J. (1990). Discourse abilities and deficits in multilingual dementia. In Y. Joanette & H. H. Brownell (Eds.), Discourse ability and brain damage: Theoretical and empirical perspectives (pp. 224–235). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dulude, L. (2012). Writing system, phonemic awareness, and bilingualism: Cross-linguistic issues in dyslexia. Indiana University Undergraduate Journal of Cognitive Science, 7, 22–30.Google Scholar
  17. Durkin, C. (2000). Dyslexia and bilingual children—Does recent research assist identification? Dyslexia, 6(4), 248–267.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Ekman, S. L., Wahlin, T. B., Norberg, A., & Winblad, B. (1993). Relationship between bilingual demented immigrants and bilingual/monolingual caregivers. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 37, 37–54.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Ekman, S. L., Wahlin, T. B., Viitanen, M., Norberg, A., & Winblad, B. (1994). Preconditions for communication in the care of bilingual demented persons. International Psychogeriatrics, 6, 105–120.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Fabbro, F. (1999). The neurolinguistics of bilingualism: An introduction. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  21. Fabbro, F. (2001). The bilingual brain: Bilingual aphasia. Brain and Language, 79, 201–210.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Friedland, D., & Miller, N. (1999). Language mixing in bilingual speakers with Alzheimer‘s dementia: A conversation analysis approach. Aphasiology, 13(4–5), 427–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Genesee, F., Paradis, J., & Crago, M. (2004). Dual language development and disorders: A handbook on bilingualism and second language learning. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.Google Scholar
  24. Goral, M., Levy, E. S., & Obler, L. K. (2002). Neurolinguistic aspects of bilingualism. International Journal of Bilingualism, 6(4), 411–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Green, D. W. (2008). Bilingual aphasia: Adapted language networks and their control. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 28, 25–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hyltenstam, K., & Obler, L. K. (1989). Bilingualism across the lifespan: Aspects of acquisition, maturity and loss. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hyltenstam, K., & Stroud, C. (1989). Bilingualism in Alzheimer‘s dementia : Two case studies. In K. Hyltenstam & L. K. Obler (Eds.), Bilingualism across the lifespan: Aspects of acquisition, maturity and loss (pp. 202–226). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Karanth, P. (1992). Developmental dyslexia in bilingual-biliterates. Reading and Writing, 4(3), 297–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Karanth, P. (2003). Cross-linguistic study of acquired reading disorders: Implications for reading models, disorders, acquisition, and teaching (Vol. 24). New York: Springer Science & Business Media.Google Scholar
  30. Kim, K., Rilkin, R., Lee, K., & Kirsch, J. (1997). Distinct cortical areas associated with native and second language. Nature, 388, 171–174.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Kohnert, K., & Windsor, J. (2004). The search for common ground: Part II. Nonlinguistic performance by linguistically diverse learners. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 47, 891–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kremin, H., Chomel-Guillaume, S., Ferrand, I., & Bakchine, S. (2000). Dissociation of reading strategies: Letter-by-letter reading in the native language and normal reading in the learned language. A case study. Brain and Cognition, 43, 282–286.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Kwon, J. C., Lee, H. J., Chin, J., Lee, Y. M., Kim, H., & Na, D. L. (2002). Hanja alexia with agraphia after left posterior inferior temporal lobe infarction: A case study. Journal of Korean Medical Sciences, 17, 91–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lukatela, G., & Turvey, M. T. (1998). Reading in two alphabets. American Psychologist, 53, 1057–1072.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Luria, A. R. (1956). On the problem of reading and writing disturbance in polyglots. Fiziologicheskyj zhurnal, 2:173–177.Google Scholar
  36. McMurtray, A., Saito, E., & Nakamoto, B. (2009). Language preference and development of dementia among bilingual individuals. Hawaii Medical Journal, 68(9), 223.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  37. Mendez, M.F., Perryman, K.M., Pontón, M.O. & Cummings, J.L (1999). Bilingualism and dementia. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 11, 411–412.Google Scholar
  38. Mendez, M. F., Saghafi, S., & Clark, D. G. (2004). Semantic dementia in multilingual patients. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 16, 381.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Obler, L. K., Hyun, J., Conner, P., O’Connor, B., & Anema, I. (2007). Brain organization of language in bilinguals. In A. Ardila & E. Ramos (Eds.), Speech and language disorders in bilinguals (pp. 21–46). New York: Nova Science International.Google Scholar
  40. Paradis, J. (2007). Bilingual children with specific language impairment: Theoretical and applied issues. Applied PsychoLinguistics, 28, 551–564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Paradis, J. (2010). The interface between bilingual development and specific language impairment. Applied PsychoLinguistics, 31, 227–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Paradis, M. (1977). Bilingualism and aphasia. Studies in neurolinguistics, 3, 65–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Paulesu, E., Demonet, J. F., Fazio, F., McCrory, E., Chanoine, V., Brunswick, N., et al. (2001). Dyslexia: Cultural diversity and biological unity. Science, 291, 2064–2065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pitres, A. (1895). Etude sur l’aphasie chez les polyglottes. Revue de médecine, 15, 873–899.Google Scholar
  45. Ribot, T. (1882). Les maladies de la mémoire. G. Bailliere.Google Scholar
  46. Rice, M. (2003). A unified model of specific and general language delay: Grammatical tense as a clinical marker of unexpected variation. In Y. Levy & J. Schaeffer (Eds.), Language competence across populations: Towards a definition of specific language impairment (pp. 63–94). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  47. Sakurai, Y. (2004). Varieties of alexia from fusiform, posterior inferior temporal and posterior occipital gyrus lesions. Behavioural Neurology, 15, 35–50.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  48. Sakurai, Y., Asami, M., & Mannen, T. (2010). Alexia and agraphia with lesions of the angular and supramarginal gyri: Evidence for the disruption of sequential processing. Journal of Neurological Sciences, 288(1–2), 25–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sakurai, Y., Ichikawa, Y., & Mannen, T. (2001). Pure alexia form a posterior occipital lesion. Neurology, 56, 778–781.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Salvatierra, J., Rosselli, M., Acevedo, A., & Duara, R. (2007). Verbal fluency in bilingual Spanish/English Alzheimer’s disease patients. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, 22(3), 190–201.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Serrano, F., Genard, N., Sucena, A., Defior, S., Alegria, J., Mousty, P., et al. (2011). Variations in reading and spelling acquisition in Portuguese, French and Spanish: A cross-linguistic comparison. Journal of Portuguese Linguistics, 10(1), 183–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Seymour, P. H. K., Aro, M., & Erskine, J. M. (2003). Foundation literacy acquisition in European orthographies. British Journal of Psychology, 94(2), 143–174.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Silverberg, R., & Gordon, H. W. (1979). Differential aphasia in two bilingual individuals. Neurology, 29(1), 51–55.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Valdois, S., Peyrin, C., Lassus-Sangosse, D., Lallier, M., Démonet, J. F., & Kandel, S. (2014). Dyslexia in a French–Spanish bilingual girl: Behavioural and neural modulations following a visual attention span intervention. Cortex, 53, 120–145.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Wexler, K. (2003). Lennenberg’s dream: Learning, normal language development, and specific lan- guage impairment. In Y. Levy & J. Schaeffer (Eds.), Language competence across populations. Towards a definition of specific language impairment (pp. 11–62). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  56. Wydell, T. N., & Butterworth, B. (1999). A case study of an English-Japanese bilingual with monolingual dyslexia. Cognition, 70(3), 273–305.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Yamada, J., Imai, H., & Ikebe, Y. (1990). The use of the orthographic lexicon in reading kana words. Journal of General Psychology, 117, 311–323.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Yamawaki, R., Suzuki, K., Tanji, K., Fujii, T., Endo, K., Meguro, K., et al. (2005). Anomic alexia of kanji in a patient with anomic aphasia. Cortex, 41, 555–559.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Ziegler, J. C., & Goswami, U. (2005). Reading acquisition, developmental dyslexia, and skilled reading across languages: A psycholinguistic grain size theory. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 3–29.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations