Effects of Topic Familiarity on Discourse in Aphasia

Document Type

Journal Article


Speech Pathology Australia Ltd


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Psychology and Social Science




Miles, A., Ciccone, N., & Godecke, E. (2011). Effects of topic familiarity on discourse in aphasia. ACQuiring Knowledge in Speech, Language & Hearing, 13(1), 7-11.


This paper presents an investigation into the effect of topic familiarity on discourse production in an individual with chronic post-stroke aphasia. The participant produced procedural narrative discourse samples within a retell context with the topics identified as familiar or unfamiliar by the participant. To establish the level of familiarity the participant ranked 20 topics from most to least familiar. The five most and least familiar topics were then used as discourse sample stimuli. These samples were compared on multiple discourse measures in order to examine the impact of topic familiarity across different levels of the language system. Overall the unfamiliar procedural topics resulted in less successful communicative output. The results of this study lend support to literature suggesting topic familiarity influences discourse production. This study has clinical implications for the assessment and treatment of individuals with aphasia.

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