Chinese Writing and Primary Progressive Aphasia: A Window Into Brain and Cognition

Brain disease commonly disrupts the ability to write. The precise nature of that disruption may inform clinical diagnosis and provide theoretical insights into the cognitive processes underpinning writing skills. In alphabetic languages, the spelling of a word may be inferred from the sequence of sounds, using language-specific rules for converting phonemes to their corresponding graphemes. This is not always possible. English has many words with atypical spellings (e.g., sew) and homophones (e.g., bear/bare). It is assumed that spelling of such words depends on retrieval of the whole-word representation from an orthographic lexicon. The inference is that writing involves both sublexical (mapping of sounds) and lexical (whole word) processes.

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