CAP English Data

Elizabeth Bates (1947-2003)
Cognitive Science
UC San Diego

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Downloadable transcripts

Participants: 11
Type of Study: naturalistic
Location: USA
Media type: audio
DOI: doi:10.21415/T5532D

General Overview

This is the English segment of the CAP (Comparative Aphasia Project). No media files are available for these transcripts. All of the data were collected using a common procedure, which is the “given-new” picture description task of MacWhinney and Bates (1978). This procedure was varied only slightly to allow the aphasic participants to see three pictures in a series at once. Participants saw nine sets of pictorial stimuli that could be described in terms of simple sentences. For example, Series 2 consists of three pictures of the same boy, which can be described by these sentences:
  • A boy is running.
  • A boy is skiing.
  • A boy is swimming.
    1 S V A bear (mouse, bunny) is crying.
    2 S V A boy is running (swimming, skiing).
    3 S V O A monkey (squirrel, bunny) is eating a banana.
    4 S V O A boy is kissing (hugging, kicking) a dog.
    5 S V O A girl is eating an apple (cookie, ice cream).
    6 S V L A dog is in (on, under) a car.
    7 S V L A cat is on a table (bed, chair).
    8 S V O I A lady is giving a present (truck, mouse) to a girl.
    9 S V O I A cat is giving a flower to a boy (bunny, dog).
    In this listing, these abbreviations are used for the major elements of a sentence: S=subject, V=verb, O=object, L=object of the locative preposition, and I=indirect object. The three pictures in each series are called frames. For example, (a) is the first frame, (b) is the second frame, and (c) is the third frame. In this particular series, the subject increases in givenness across the frames whereas the verb increases in newness. In Series 6 and 7, the verb is taken to include both the copular and the locative preposition. (In Hungarian, the locative is a postposition or suffix rather than a preposition.) The order of the nine series of pictures was randomized. Following each series, a picture of a common object such as a bottle or a sailboat was inserted. This was done to break up any set (Einstellung) effects. Participants were examined individually. Each participant was seated next to the experimenter at a table. The participants were told that they would be asked to tell about what they saw in some pictures. The experimenter showed the pictures in groups of three, varying the placement of particular pictures left, middle, and right across participants. Two probes were used: “Tell me about this picture,” and “What’s happening in this picture?” Use of the two probes was also randomized. Each session was tape recorded in its entirety.


    All participants were right-handed. All aphasic participants had left lateral lesions. The transcripts in the CHILDES database are from either Broca’s aphasics, Wernicke aphasics, or anomics. The characterization of these syndromes is as follows: Broca’s aphasics are nonfluent patients, displaying an abnormal reduction in utterance length and sentence complexity, with marked errors of omission or substitution in grammatical morphology. Wernicke’s aphasics are patients suffering from marked comprehension deficits, despite fluent or hyper-fluent speech with an apparently normal melodic line; these patients are expected to display serious word-finding difficulties, usually with semantic and/or phonological paraphasias and occasional paragrammatisms. Anomics are fluent patients, with apparently normal comprehension abilities in free conversation, suffering primarily from word-finding problems (in the absence of severe paraphasias or paragrammatism). Patients were referred for testing by neurologists and speech pathologists at the respective research sites, with one of the above diagnoses. In support of each classification, we were provided with neurological records (including CT scans in many cases), together with the results of standard aphasia batteries that were used at the respective research sites, such as the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Examination in the United States and the Aachen Aphasia Battery in Europe. To eliminate the possibility that a patient had changed status since the diagnosis provided at referral, patients were all screened in a biographical interview ad-ministered and recorded prior to testing. In addition, we excluded all patients with one or more of the following conditions:
    1. history of multiple strokes,
    2. significant hearing and/or visual disabilities,
    3. severe gross motor disabilities,
    4. severe motor-speech involvement such that less than 50% of the participant’s speech attempts were intelligible, or
    5. evidence that participant was neurologically or physically unstable and/or less than 3 months post onset.
    Patient groups were defined within each language according to their fit to a prototype used by neurologists and speech pathologists in that community. For example, a prototypic Broca’s aphasic would show reduced fluency and phrase length, and a tendency toward omission of functors. Hence patients were matched across languages only in the sense that they represented different degrees of deviation from a prototype developed out of observed variation within each language group. This permitted comparison of the “best” and the “worst” patients across languages, as well as those who fit the mean.
    File Sex Onset Test Lag Etiology Ed. Occupation
    B1-71 M 58 2 years CVA 12 telephone engineer
    B2-73 M 31 1 year CVA 16 engineer
    B3-76 M 61 5 years CVA - telephone repair
    B4-66 M 43 8 years CVA 18 accountant
    B5-74 M 33 3 years Trauma 15 electronics
    B6-72 M 44 1 year CVA - -
    W1-82 M 47 2 months CVA 16 insurance
    W2-83 M 81 1 year CVA - build. maintenance
    W3-84 M 56 1 month CVA 11 -
    W4-81 M 53 1 year CVA 16 parish priest
    W5-85 M 61 3 weeks CVA 18 army colonel

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