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Brain Lang. 2001 Jul;78(1):62-81.

Palilalia and repetitive speech: two case studies.

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  • 1University Clinic of Neurology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.


Palilalia, a disorder of speech characterized by compulsive repetitions of utterances has been found in various neurological and psychiatric disorders. It has commonly been interpreted as a defect of motor speech. This article describes palilalia and other variants of verbal repetitive behavior, such as monosyllabic iterations and conduite d'approche. The clinical features of palilalia, its prevalence in different language tasks, and the individual patterns of verbal repetitive behavior are illustrated in two patients with a long-standing cerebrovascular disease. An attempt is made to locate the origin of different forms of verbal repetitions in a standard model of speech production (Butterworth, 1980a; Garrett, 1980; Levelt, 1989) by analysis of their morphology and correlation with impairments of lexical or phonological processes. From these observations it is suggested that palilalia results from control malfunctions at the level of the Articulator, whereas other variants of pathological verbal iterations result from an impairment of the Formulator or from malfunctions of both the Articulator and the Formulator.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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