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Our Research Focus

The focus of the GAB Lab is to understand the fundamental nature of syntactic processing for people who speak uncommon language structures or more than one language, as well as the nature of grammatical deficits in aphasia (agrammatism or paragrammatism), particularly for these understudied populations. By researching how diverse language experiences affect neural patterns of syntactic processing, we can also understand what processing patterns all speakers have in common. 
Language typology and speakers' language background affect their grammatical processing, as does brain damage, such as from stroke or neurogeneration. Most of our understanding about grammar comes from speakers of one language (monolinguals), primarily speakers of English. More than half the global population and at least a quarter of the U.S. population is bilingual, someone who speaks more than one language (to any proficiency level, starting at any age) - and the number of bilingual speakers is growing. Aphasia, a language impairment that can occur after stroke or from neurodegeneration, often affects grammatical processing, resulting in agrammatism (grammatical deficits from omissions) or paragrammatism (grammatical deficits from incorrect insertions). The GAB Lab aims to answer the following questions about grammar in aphasia and bilingualism:

  1. What syntactic processing is common to all speakers and which aspects are unique to speakers of particular languages or backgrounds?

  2. Why are some grammatical structures uncommon across human languages and what do these patterns tell us about the neural basis of syntax?

  3. How do the grammars of bilingual speakers interact?

  4. What is the nature of grammatical deficits in aphasia?

  5. How does bilingualism interact with grammatical deficits in aphasia?

This research can be examined through 3 pillars:

  • Aphasia Research

  • Bilingualism Research

  • Non-English Language Processing Research

Our Current Projects

Bilingual Mental Lexicon Research

This research examines how the words and grammars of speakers of more than language interact. We are currently recruiting participants for multiple exciting studies on the Bilingual Mental Lexicon! See our "Participate" page to see if you qualify.

Publications and Presentations:

Fahey, D. & Tasseva-Kurktchieva, M. Quantifying cognateness: A comparison of methods for determining cognate status. 

Grammar in Aphasia Research

This research examines how words and grammars are affected when individuals have a stroke. We are not currently recruiting for studies on this topic, but will be soon! For more information on our Aphasia research or to participate in a study, see our "Participate" page.

Publications and Presentations:

Fahey, D. (2023, November). In Two Minds About Bilingual Aphasia? Best Practices in Assessment & Intervention for Bilinguals with Aphasia. Oral seminar presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 2023 Annual Convention. Boston, MA. - Handout link

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