International Science Index


Language Processing of Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease: From the Perspective of Temporal Parameters


The present paper aims to examine the language processing of Chinese-speaking seniors with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) from the perspective of temporal cues. Twenty healthy adults, 17 healthy seniors, and 13 seniors with AD in Taiwan participated in this study to tell stories based on two sets of pictures. Nine temporal cues were fetched and analyzed. Oral productions in Mandarin Chinese were compared and discussed to examine to what extent and in what way these three groups of participants performed with significant differences. Results indicated that the age effects were significant in filled pauses. The dementia effects were significant in mean duration of pauses, empty pauses, filled pauses, lexical pauses, normalized mean duration of filled pauses and lexical pauses. The findings reported in the current paper help characterize the nature of language processing in seniors with or without AD, and contribute to the interactions between the AD neural mechanism and their temporal parameters.

[1] Goldman–Eisler, F. (1968). Psycholinguistics: Experiments in spontaneous speech. New York: Academic Press.
[2] Goldman–Eisler, F. (1972). Pauses, clauses, sentences. Language and Speech, 15, 103-113.
[3] Bucks, R. S., Singh, S., Cuerden, J.M., & Wilcock, G. K. (2000). Analysis of spontaneous, conversational speech in dementia of Alzheimer type: Evaluation of an Objective technique for analyzing lexical performance. Aphasiology, 14, 79-91.
[4] Appell, J., Kertesz, A., & Fisman, M. (1982). A study of language functioning in Alzheimer patients. Brain Language, 17, 73–91.
[5] Kemper, S., Thompson, M., & Marquis, J. (2001). Longitudinal change in language production: Effects of aging and dementia on grammatical complexity and propositional content. Psychology and Aging, 16, 600-614.
[6] Kempler, D., Almor, A., Tyler, L. K., Andersen, E. S., & MacDonald, M. C. (1998). Sentence comprehension deficits in Alzheimer’s disease: A comparison of off-line vs. on-line sentence processing. Brain and Language, 64, 297-316.
[7] Kertesz, A., & Munoz, D. G. (2003). Primary progressive aphasia and Pick complex. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 206, 97-107.
[8] Hoffmann, I., Nemeth, D., Dye, C., Pakaski, M., Irinyi, T., & Kalman, J. (2010). Temporal parameters of spontaneous speech in Alzheimer’s disease. International Journal of Speech- Language Pathology, 12, 29-34. 17549500903137256.
[9] Tirado, V., Muñoz, C., Aguirre, C., Pineda, D. A., & Lopera, R. (2004). Desempeño de portadores y no portadores de la mutación E280A para enfermedad de Alzheimer familiar en una prueba de denominación. (Performance of carriers and non-carriers of the E280A mutation for familial Alzheimer’s disease in a naming test). Revista de _eurología, 39, 322-32.
[10] Valls-Pedret, C., Molinuevo, J. L., & Rami, L. (2010). Diagnóstico precoz de la enfermedad de Alzheimer. Fase prodrómica y preclínica. (Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: the prodromal and preclinical phase). Revista de _eurología, 51, 471-480.
[11] Blanken, G., Dittman, J., Haas, J-C. & Wallesch, C-W. (1987). Spontaneous speech in senile dementia and aphasia. Implication for a neurolinguistic model of language production. Cognition, 27, 247-274.
[12] Bschor, T., Kuhl, K. P., & Reischies, F.M. (2001). Spontaneous speech of patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type and mild cognitive impairment. International Psychogeriatrics, 13, 289-298.
[13] Forbes, K. E., Venneri, A., & Shanks, M. F. (2002). Distinct patterns of spontaneous speech deterioration: An mild predictor of Alzheimer’s disease. Brain and Cognition, 48, 356-361.
[14] Illes, J. (1989). Neurolinguistic features of spontaneous language production dissociate three forms of neurodegenerative disease: Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s. Brain and Language, 37, 628-642.
[15] Meilán, J.G., Martínex-Sánchez, F., Carro, J., Sánchez, J. A., & Pérez, E. (2012). Acoustic Markers Associated with Impairment in Language Processing in Alzheimer’s Disease. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 15(2), 487-494.
[16] Romero, B. & Kurz, A. (1996). Deterioration of spontaneous speech in AD patients during a 1-year follow-up: Homeogeneity of profiles and factors associated with progression. Dementia, 7, 35-40.
[17] Singh, S., Bucks, R. S., & Cuerden, J. M. (2001). Evaluation of an objective technique for analysing temporal variables in DAT spontaneous speech. Aphasiology, 15, 571-583.
[18] Baum, S. R., Blumstein S. E., Naeser M. A., & Palumbo C. L. (1990). Temporal dimensions of consonant and vowel production: an acoustic and CT scan analysis of aphasic speech. Brain and Language, 39, 33-56
[19] McKhann, G., Drachman D., Folstein M., Katzman R., Price D., & Stadlan Emanuel M. (1984). Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: report of the NINCDS-ADRDA Work Group under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Alzheimer's disease. Neurology, 34, 939-944.
[20] He, W. Z. (2010). The noun-verb deficits in Chinese-speaking aphasics. Unpublished master’s thesis. National Tsing Hua University
[21] Boersma, P., & Weenink, D. (2010). Praat: Doing phonetics by computer (version 5.1.29). (Computer program). Retrieved from
[22] Duez, D. (1982) Silent and non-silent pauses in three speech styles. Language and Speech, 25(1), 11-28.
[23] Hieke, A. E., Kowal, S., & O’Connell, D. C. (1983). The trouble with “articulatory” pauses. Language and Speech, 26, 203–214.
[24] Fant, G., Kruckenberg, A., & Ferreira, J. B. (2003). Individual variations in pausing: A study of read speech. Phonum, 9, 193-196.
[25] Hu, L. (2007). Long pauses in Chinese EFL learners’ speech production. Interlinguistica, 17, 606-616.
[26] Wu, C. H. (2008). Filled Pauses in L2 Chinese: A Comparison of Native and Non-Native Speakers. Proceedings of the 20th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-20), Volume 1, Edited by Marjorie K.M. Chan and Hana Kang (pp. 213-227). Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University.
[27] Zellner, B. (1994). Pauses and the temporal structure of speech, in E. Keller (Ed.) Fundamentals of speech synthesis and speech recognition. (pp. 41-62). Chichester: John Wiley.