Error consistency in acquired apraxia of speech with aphasia: Effects of the analysis unit

Katarina L. Haley, Kevin T. Cunningham, Catherine Torrington Eaton, Adam Jacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Diagnostic recommendations for acquired apraxia of speech (AOS) have been contradictory concerning whether speech sound errors are consistent or variable. Studies have reported divergent findings that, on face value, could argue either for or against error consistency as a diagnostic criterion. The purpose of this study was to explain discrepancies in error consistency results based on the unit of analysis (segment, syllable, or word) to help determine which diagnostic recommendation is most appropriate. Method: We analyzed speech samples from 14 left-hemisphere stroke survivors with clinical diagnoses of AOS and aphasia. Each participant produced 3 multisyllabic words 5 times in succession. Broad phonetic transcriptions of these productions were coded for consistency of error location and type using the word and its constituent syllables and sound segments as units of analysis. Results: Consistency of error type varied systematically with the unit of analysis, showing progressively greater consistency as the analysis unit changed from the word to the syllable and then to the sound segment. Consistency of error location varied considerably across participants and correlated positively with error frequency. Conclusions: Low to moderate consistency of error type at the word level confirms original diagnostic accounts of speech output and sound errors in AOS as variable in form. Moderate to high error type consistency at the syllable and sound levels indicate that phonetic error patterns are present. The results are complementary and logically compatible with each other and with the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-226
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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