Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Public Health

First Advisor

Dirk-Bart den Ouden


With the growing bilingual population in the world comes a greater incidence of bilingual aphasia, a communication disorder characterized by expressive or receptive language impairment in one or both of a bilingual speaker’s languages. The cognate facilitation effect, which has greatly been explored in healthy bilingual studies, has shown that cognates are named faster and more accurately than non-cognates; as the cognate facilitation effect is also retained in bilingual speakers with aphasia, it is thought that cognates could potentially be used as a treatment tool to facilitate lexical access, particularly when a bilingual speaker with aphasia presents with one of the hallmark characteristics of aphasia, anomia (a word-finding deficit). The present study has found that the cognate facilitation effect is retained in a bilingual individual with aphasia, but only in the non-dominant language (L2). Additionally, this study investigated whether cognates facilitated a more similar and stable production of phonemes, which is important for bilingual speakers with aphasia who struggle with dysarthria and apraxia, both of which are co-morbidities of aphasia. As the bilingual speaker’s L2 was extremely impaired, very little acoustic analysis could be performed, therefore minimal significant results were observed. However, this study provides a basis for future research in that the methodology could be replicated with more participants to determine whether cognates allow for a more similar and stable production of phonemes, which is a topic that has not been investigated until now.


© 2023, Katherine Vlach

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