Dominant language deterioration after selective damage in left-hemispheric basal ganglia

The study focused on bilingual aphasia and, specifically, in the case of JZ. The case of JZ refers to a bilingual person (Basque-Spanish) of 53 years who, after a hematoma in the basal ganglia of the left hemisphere, presented executive deficits and aphasia, characterized by damaged processing of the mother language or L1, the Basque. An assessment of bilingual aphasia revealed an alteration of the production of spontaneous and automatic speech in their mother language or L1, Basque, as well as the deterioration of the translation of sentences from L2 to L1, that is, from Spanish to Basque. Afterwards, this executive control at the verbal and non-verbal level was evaluated, which made it possible to observe that JZ’s low performance in linguistic tasks and verbal-phonological fluency was related to his executive dysfunction.

Thus, we can see how the evolution of the patient JZ differed from the standard patterns of recovery in bilingual aphasia, since normally the mother language (L1) recovers better and preferably compared to the second language. Nevertheless, in the case of JZ the rule was not accomplish, since his mother language (L1) was Basque and was in which he showed a worse pattern of recovery. In our research, this result can not be explained by the affective factors of JZ nor by the influence of the linguistic environment after the stroke.

Reference: Adrover-Roig D, Galparsoro-Izagirre N, Marcotte K, Ferré P, Wilson MA, & Ansaldo AI. (2011). Impaired L1 and executive control after left basal ganglia damage in a bilingual Basque-Spanish person with aphasia. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics; 25 (6-7):480-98