Along the current case report a multilingual female who suffered from post-stroke aphasia later on she recovered from global to conduction fluent aphasia within 6 months. It is hypothesized that being multilingual may have aided recovery like the cognitive reserve concept that guards against dementia. Linguistic analysis are conducted by the investigation of grammaticality of the morphosyntactic structures, and by the investigation of phonological production as well as investigating the semantic context. The data are analyzed according to the application of Chomsky’s principles and parameters of universal grammar [7,8,9]; as well as the generative phonology [7,8,9,10] and semantic analysis in order to investigate all the linguistic levels in the given context and the processing of syntactic structures of the aphasic’s verbal production .
The case presented in the current paper as previously mentioned is multilingual. Multilingualism has a great positive effect on the human brain. Before suffering from stroke, the patient spoke three languages fluently; namely, Arabic, French and English. She maintained some linguistic features of each language. Therefore, the patient was able to overcome her communicative problems through spontaneously using code switching from one language to the other; aiming at conveying all her ideas and thoughts ‘gist’ [12, 13].
Unique as it may seem; however, it is not the only case to be detected. Dr. T is a 77-year-old right-handed female who speaks Cantonese L1, English L2, and Mandarin L3. She showed an involuntary and uncontrolled code switching. Results of post-stroke testing showed normal cognitive ability .
EC is a 49-year-old right-handed male who speaks Hebrew as his L1, English L2, and French L3 with chronic mild non-fluent aphasia. The patient had a cross-linguistic recovery in his morphosyntactic verbal production; although treatment was conducted in his second language (English) .
The current case verbal production showed a feature of a foreign accent syndrome though she is Egyptian. Her multilingual abilities helped her recovery with overcoming on her phonological paraphasia by choosing an alternative verbal production from any of the languages she speaks, therefore her linguistic brain abilities developed after the stroke.
Linguistic analysis revealed that the patient resorts to her second language L2; namely French or her third language L3 namely English if she finds it difficult to utter the Arabic word. She has always preferred to answer the Arabic questions in English or in French.
When the patient was asked a question requiring an answer to be in numbers, she started by counting from 1 then go on until she reached the number in target, then she uttered it in French or English. When she was asked to read numbers, the same case applies. When she saw four-digit numbers or more, she tries to avoid reading.
As for reading texts, the patient ignores reading function words, though not always. When asked if she understood what she read, she said yes but she could not explain. The tests were meant to be conducted with the usage of Arabic language, Egyptian dialect; however, the linguist, tested the patient in English and in French. The patient showed interest in reading English and French tests; however, she did not understand the texts either and same observations were detected.
In this case report, it is assumed that aphasics maintain the instinct faculty of language because they simply have human brains, the nature of their brains allow the aphasics to try to re-communicate. According to Steven Pinker, “language is not a cultural artifact that we learn the same way we learn to tell time, or tie our shoe. Instead it is a distinct piece of the biological makeup of our brains. Cognitive Scientists have described language as ‘psychological faculty’, a ‘mental organ’, a ‘neural system’ and a ‘computational module’ [12, 13].
The patient showed a very good but gradual response to treatment. The case was somehow similar to a child learning a language. As no one can predict what words would spontaneously be uttered in a given situation, because human are not prepared with a list of sentences or phrases; therefore, a language cannot be considered as a mere mental lexicon inventory. The brain must contain a ‘recipe’ or a ‘program’ that can build an unlimited set of sentences out of a finite list of words. ‘This program is the mental grammar not the pedagogical one’. The case with children is that they develop these complex grammars rapidly and without formal instruction to produce novel sentences proving that language is innate and that their brains must be equipped with a ‘Universal Grammar’, that may be in the form of a bodily organ. Parallel to this, the patient in our case was able to restore her language again; most probably because of the hypothetical grammar organ [7, 9].
An aphasic can use his mouth to eat, to drink and to blow candles, can use his teeth and tongue to chew and swallow food but not to articulate language. This indicates that the neurological link between the mouth and the brain is only impaired in the language organ [7, 9].
The patient shows similar aspects of phonological mistakes as well as syntactic ones in all three languages. She also has an obvious problem in understanding the meanings of long and short sentences when reading them.
The patient cannot always express the ideas in her mind, but the ideas seem to be there somewhere in her brain. She seems to know the ‘gist’ of what she wants to say, despite the fact that she seems not to know the ‘gist’ of what she reads. For a normal person the surrounding environment forces the speaker to create a bunch of words reflecting the variety of things that the speaker sees or feels (perception). The case is different with aphasics, they seem to know but it is difficult to express. The patient keeps saying /mish keda ya3ny/ /mish awy ya3ny/ When she feels that words are trapped in her brain, she asks the one she speaks with to say them on behalf of her. She keeps trying to deliver them by mimic. Albert Einstein sums it up, before the words are connected to any logical construction they seem to be clear images.
The patient seems to our surprise is maintaining the parameter setting of the three languages, though seemingly lost a big part of the Arabic one. Arabic is her mother language and at the same time one of the scrambling languages because of the case markers /enta/ …. /enty/. Experimental studies of baby cognition showed that infants have the concepts of an object before they learn any words for any objects. It could be concluded that an aphasic in a progress stage of treatment restores these concepts. According to Chomsky, the unordered super rules (principles) are universal and innate. Children are born with these principles and they only have to know the parameter value; head-first, and head-last [7,8,9].
Rights and permissions
Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.