Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Hyejin Park

Second Advisor

Myriam Kornisch

Third Advisor

Tossi Ikuta

Relational Format



Purpose: Fluency is an important criterion to classify subtypes of aphasia. Previous studies have discussed the factors of fluency using various speech-language aspects. However, limited research investigated how much lexical hesitations (i.e., repetitions and retraces) are produced in people with aphasia. Lexical hesitations are important indicators of word finding difficulty and self-error detection skills which may be mediated by cognitive-linguistic demands across different discourse tasks. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the lexical hesitations production in people with fluent and non-fluent aphasia compared to neurologically intact adults in various discourse tasks.Method: Three groups of people with fluent aphasia (n=31), nonfluent aphasia (n=30), and neurologically intact adults (n=36) were included from AphasiaBank. Language samples of six tasks from four types of discourse elicitation (Cinderella for story-retelling, Important Event for recount, Sandwich for procedural, and Cat Rescue, Broken Window, and Umbrella for description) were included for data analysis. CLAN software was used to extract the number of retraces and repetitions, the lexical hesitation ratio was calculated by dividing the total number of retraces and repetitions by total number of utterances for each task. A 3 (groups) x 6 (tasks) mixed ANOVA with Bonferroni post-hoc tests were conducted for comparisons. Results: The results showed the main effect of discourse tasks where participants had a higher lexical hesitation ratio in the Cinderella task than the recount and sequential-picture-description tasks, but not Cat Rescue or Sandwich. No group effects or interaction effects were found. Conclusion: This study showed lexical hesitation production is affected by cognitive-linguistic demands of a discourse task. Cinderella requires high cognitive demands, increased reliance on memory, and requires the use of more lexically diverse terms and complex story grammar, which may increase word finding difficulty and results in more frequent lexical hesitation production. These results suggested that clinicians should carefully select a discourse task for accurate classification of aphasia.

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