Dementia of Alzheimer Type can Alter both Languages in Late Bilinguals

Manchon, M.; Bütler, Karin; Colombo, F.; Spierer, L.; Assal, F.; Blatter, S.; Annoni, J. (19 October 2013). Dementia of Alzheimer Type can Alter both Languages in Late Bilinguals. Procedia - social and behavioral sciences, 94, p. 21. Elsevier 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.09.007

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Introduction Behavioral, clinical and neuroimaging evidence indicate that the first (L1) and the second language (L2) of bilingual individuals are supported by partly overlapping anatomo-functional pathways. While in the specific cases of patients suffering from cortical neurodegenerative diseases neuropsychological models predict that, in late bilinguals, L2 could be more impaired than L2, clinical data so far failed to demonstrate such dissociation. Method To address this question, we compared language performance in different tasks of oral and comprehension (semantic and syntactic) and production (naming, repetition, and fluency) in L1 and L2 in a group of 13 late proficient bilinguals with dementia of Alzheimer type (DAT) with 12 healthy late bilinguals matched in several demographic and linguistic factors including education level, age of L2 acquisition and immersion. Results Two-way mixed repeated-measure ANOVAs with factors Language and Group reveal main effects of Group (P<0.05) in all language tasks except for the counting and the sentence repetition tasks, indicating that DAT impact all aspects of language. Our analyses did not reveal any Group X Language interaction, suggesting that DAT impacted similarly on both languages. Conclusion Our results suggest that, like in stroke patients, neurodegenerative disease affects in a parallel manner oral language in L1 and L2, particularly at level of semantic, lexical and syntactic level of processing. These results do not support divergent models of bilingual brain representations, but rather argue for a substantially shared L1 and L2 network in late bilinguals.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research > ARTORG Center - Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation

UniBE Contributor:

Bütler, Karin


400 Language > 410 Linguistics
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences






Angela Amira Botros

Date Deposited:

30 Sep 2019 10:31

Last Modified:

28 Oct 2019 05:46

Publisher DOI:





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