Pawleys Corpus

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Margaret Forbes
AphasiaBank
Carnegie Mellon University


Participants: 1 person with aphasia
Type of Study: Longitudinal -- conversation
Location: USA
Media type: video
DOI: doi:10.21415/T5BQ25

Citation information

MacWhinney, B., Fromm, D., Forbes, M. & Holland, A. (2011). AphasiaBank: Methods for studying discourse. Aphasiology, 25,1286-1307.

In accordance with TalkBank rules, any use of data from this corpus must be accompanied by at least one of the above references.

General Overview

This is a 68-year-old gentleman who had an ischemic stroke in May 2017, and subsequently had surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm shortly thereafter (around June 2017). His speech is rapid and fluent, with multiple paraphasias and neologisms. He has normal prosody, and uses appropriate turn taking in conversation. He speaks with a marked southern accent.

The goal of this corpus is to follow the course of language recovery of this PWA for six months, starting as soon as medically possible after the onset of his stroke. We aim to record twice a week, depending on availability of the PWA, and will initially make short (5-10 minutes) recordings of his conversations with his wife and with the examiner. The hope is that we will produce a large collection of conversations documenting recovery, which will then be able to be analyzed in a variety of ways.

Notes on the visits are provided below.

  • Pawleys1 -- July 12, 2017
    First meeting of participant and investigator. The subjects of this conversation are his prison ministry and the golfer, Arnold Palmer. In this session, although he acknowledged speaking rapidly, he did not significantly change his rate of speech when it was suggested. He did not appear to be aware of his multiple paraphasias and neologisms, and he made no efforts to correct himself. He appeared to have comprehension difficulty, and although this was not assessed in this session, he did seem to have functional comprehension when addressed in simple sentences spoken slowly and clearly.

  • Pawleys2 -- July 20, 2017
    First video of participant and his wife. She asks him to tell about their children and grandchildren. . His speech continues to contain multiple neologisms and paraphasias, and his wife confirmed later that she did not understand most of what he said.

  • Pawleys3 -- July 21, 2017
    First he checks to make sure the camera is turned on, and that nothing more needs to be done about it. He communicates this through gesture and intonation. Then he is shown pictures of Adolph Hitler, the late English Princess Diana, and Mohammed Ali. He appears to know who these people are, and says a few words that aptly describe Hitler and Mohammed Ali. Hitler was “the worst” and Mohammed Ali “changed” his name and was “a weirdo”. He answers yes/no questions about them mostly correctly.

  • Pawleys4 -- July 23, 2017
    He is talking to his wife about the British Open golf tournament, which he has been following and his wife, who isn’t particularly interested in golf, has not. It seems that he is immersed in the action and tactics of the tournament, and she is more concerned with the specifics of how he talks about it and the names of the players he’s talking about. She is evidently frustrated at her difficulty in understanding what he means. He uses some appropriate key words, as well as many neologisms and paraphasias. As an observer, I think I was able to get the spirit of what he was saying: that there was a leader in the tournament, but that it was far from certain that he could keep the lead because there were a number of good players close behind, and that we wouldn’t know how it would end until the very last minute, because anything could happen.

  • Pawleys5 -- July 23, 2017
    This is the first instance of their working together to try to clarify his message. He also appears to acknowledge that there is a problem. In their previous discussion of golf, they appeared to be at cross-purposes, with her focusing on details and him focusing on the bigger picture. In this brief clip, they both acknowledge the difficulty communicating.

  • Pawleys6 -- July 23, 2017
    This conversation starts with social exchanges followed by my question about the events of the day. He describes his experience returning to his church after a long break because of his illness. He seems to be talking about the nice welcome he received from his friends at church, and his wife said he was also describing a musical group that played at one of the services. Although the structure of his language is reasonably intact here, so many of the words that are critical to understanding what he is talking about are paraphasias or neologisms that apart from understanding the he received a warm welcome, I could not understand what he was describing.

  • Pawleys7 -- July 24, 2017
    This is a social exchange and a conversation about events of the day before. My impression is that he used many more of the words important to understanding his meaning. In addition to hearing about their experience at church, I was able to understand that after church he and his wife got lunch, and that his wife was tired because she has so much to do.

  • Pawleys8 -- July 24, 2017
    This starts with his talking about Tiger Woods, and he is able to let me know how great Tiger used to be, and that although he may play again, he probably will never be as great again. He is unable to name Tiger, and phonemic cuing is no help at all. He also mentions the young player Spieth, who is already a winner of multiple tournaments. He talks then about his own golfing, communicating that he used to be very competitive and good, but that more recently he just plays for fun at courses he likes. I was able to understand much more of what he said today, whether because I know him better or because he’s using more correct key words I’m not sure — probably some combination of the two.

  • Pawleys9 -- July 27, 2017
    This conversation is about his plan to have dinner with some friends, restaurants that he likes, and a boat he used to have. I attempted to talk to him about whether he was a fisherman or not, but he never seemed to comprehend this, and went on talking about either where you could eat seafood or where you could buy it, I’m not sure which. While I think I was able to comprehend the general ideas in this video, it seemed to me the he was able to produce fewer of the content words that helped me to understand some details of the conversation than in the previous session.

  • Pawleys10 - July 27, 2017
    In this video, I administer the yes/no questions from the Western Aphasia Battery and Complex Ideational Material from the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Test. I allowed myself repetitions and also slowed delivery of the stimuli. He made three errors on the WAB yes/no questions, and scored 3/6 on Complex Ideational Material. Somewhat surprising to me was that he did perfectly on the final and most complex and inferential story in Complex Ideational Material. My hypothesis is that by this time (the last part of the assessment) he realized he needed to become more attentive and got into set. I don’t think his correct answers on that final story were just because the odds are 50-50 on yes/no questions.

  • Pawleys11 -- July 30, 2017
    His wife recorded the two of them having a conversation. Initially, he is concerned that the video equipment is not set up properly. Once they resolve that, his wife leads the conversation, explaining that they are making these videos for research. He listens, and acknowledges that he understands. He then explains something to her, and although I’m not sure exactly what he is explaining, it seems to me that he is talking about something else entirely. Perhaaps, guessing from a few of his phrases, he is talking about something to do with the sale of a house or an investment. She continues to respond as if he is talking about the research, which could be correct. To understand him best, it is still important to agree on a topic of conversation.

  • Pawleys12 -- July 31, 2017
    My impression is that the topic is a reunion, or a meeting of some sort. Two old friends came and they all went together. The reunion was well done and it was well-attended. Again, he used some key words that conveyed a general sense of the occasion, even as it remained vague on specifics.
    The second topic is a trip to the mall with his wife. It seems clear that although the trip was OK, he didn’t want to wait there long, and either the traffic or the crowd at the mall was terrible. He succeeded in conveying a sense of the trip, but the paraphasias and neologisms prevented me from understanding the details.

  • Pawleys13 -- August 3, 2017
    Again, he is able to convey a general picture of a couple of experiences. First, we talk about his speech therapy, and he lets me know that several people are doing rehab, and the SLP tailors the tasks to each individual, because, he says, otherwise it wouldn’t work. When I ask him what he does in speech therapy, he doesn’t succeed in communicating and specifics to me.
    Second, he conveys that his wife has been busy, and has met that morning with a couple of people. Someone he knows also stopped by to see him.

  • Pawleys14 -- August 3, 2017
    He looks at the pictures of Michael Jackson, Judy Garland, the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe from the Famous People Protocol. It appears he knows who all of them are, although he cannot name any of them, and does not reliably recognize their names when I say them. A few of his words when he talks about each one made me think he recognized them.

  • Pawleys15 -- August 3, 2017
    This is a conversation between him and his wife. She asks him questions about his day and about some expected visits. The wife appears to get some of it because she knows the context, but she is perplexed about the details, and when she tries to ask him about them, he politely tells her to let him finish speaking. It does not seem that this increases her level of comprehension.

  • Pawleys16 -- August 6, 2017
    In this conversation with his wife, he is describing to her a categorizing task he is doing for his speech therapy. Then he talks about the young people he had in his prison ministry, before coming back to the categorizing task. Again, his speech is filled with paraphasias and neologisms, but especially if the listener knows the topic of what he is saying, he conveys the general idea of his message.

  • Pawleys17 -- August 7, 2017
    This is the first time I was pretty confident that I understood not only the topic of a conversation in which I didn’t know the topic beforehand, but also some of the details. While his conversation still contains paraphasias and neologisms, he produces enough mostly correct utterances to communicate that some of his children and grandchildren came to visit, and that they went out to a place that served really good food, even though the restaurant wasn’t fancy. Among other details he communicated that his children are busy and like what they do, and that one of the grandchildren is named after him.

  • Pawleys18 -- August 7, 2017
    Although I didn’t understand as much of this as I did the previous conversation, a lot of it was clear, and the overall sense of it was quite clear. I showed him a picture of Elvis Presley, and although he could not say the name, he clearly knew who he was, and said that he liked him. He said that he was different, that not everyone liked him, and that he changed music, as did the Beatles later on. He said other groups had come along, but they had not had the same impact because they did not have the same spirit.

  • Pawleys19 -- August 10, 2017
    He and his wife are talking, first about progress on the care of his toe, then about her ACL injury four days after his stroke, and then about how well one of their friends understood him when he said a prayer before they ate dinner the night before. She also asks whether she is doing better at listening to him and helping to clarify what he’s saying. He says that she is, and says they’ll just continue trying together.

  • Pawleys20 -- August 13, 2017
    His speech continues to be paraphasic and neologistic, but his wife seems to understand him better in this conversation, probably partly because she is taking time to listen and partly because she already has a good idea of the topics. He does produce some utterances without errors, but they tend to be the less substantive ones. He and his wife again discuss the care of his toe, which he thinks is going well. They talk about golf, and about whether he’ll be able to play again. They agree that there’s no reason now to think he won’t be able to. He tell her he loves her and thanks her, and she does the same.

  • Pawleys21 -- August 14, 2017
    He’s telling me about the PGA golf tournament, which he saw but I didn’t. While many specifics are lost to paraphasic neologistic speech (such as who won, by how much, who his closest competitors were, etc.), he makes many general statements almost without error (comments about performance, predictions of future winners, how any one of these guys can win on a given day, but the one who wins has something special going on that day). He also makes easily understood comments about his own game — he used to be really good, but, like all golfers, for unknown reasons played better some days than others. With some humor he says that even on bad days he was better than most people.

  • Pawleys22 -- August 17, 2017
    I ask him first to tell how he would instruct his grandchild to start to play golf, and second, to tell what will happen in the eclipse on August 21. The golf task seems to be too broad, and he makes this clear when he tells me that even putting the ball on the tee is not simple—how you do it depends on how far you want to hit the ball. Talking about the eclipse, he uses a number of communicative gestures, including indicating the sun and moon above, wearing eclipse glasses, and pointing to the highway where heavy traffic is expected. He makes it clear that they will stay home and watch with some neighbors.

  • Pawleys23 -- August 23, 2017
    He tells his wife about his day, and after several misunderstandings she concludes that he is describing his speech therapy. He then tells her about some remarkable facial treatment he saw on television. He uses gestures to indicate putting some lotion on his face. Otherwise, because the important content words were either paraphasias or neologisms, I don't think I would have been able to guess what he was talking about.

  • Pawleys24 -- August 24, 2017
    He tells about his experience watching the total solar eclipse that was visible from his house on August 21. He uses some gestures to describe what he saw, in addition to talking about it.

  • Pawleys25 -- August 24, 2017
    He describes his speech therapy. He has several individual sessions weekly, and he is currently working on putting words into categories. He is usually given three or so categories. He is asked to put each of 20 or so words in the correct category. He agreed that the therapist reads the words and categories to him, which seems probable, since he cannot read. Although the task can be difficult, he says he may get all of the items correct. He makes it clear that it thinks the therapy is good.

    He agrees that he makes mistakes when he is talking. He says his wife tries hard to understand him. He adds that not everyone can understand him, and that he sometimes just "shuts up" with those people, as well as with his wife.

  • Pawleys26 -- August 26, 2017
    He talks to his wife and she struggles to figure out who he's talking about. He says she would understand if they got in the car and he showed her where the person was. They struggle together for a while and she finally figures out that he is talking about wanting Manuel, a gardener they used to have, return to help with the yard. They agree that they did well, and they thank each other.

    NOTE: Transcripts are not yet available for this corpus.