From across the room, the speech of someone with fluent aphasia might seem typical. People with this type of aphasia typically speaks in long sentences, and speech comes easily. However, when you get closer, you will realize that the words they are saying do not make any sense – or might not even be real words.
Fluent aphasia is characterized by fluent speech that does not make sense. It is also known as Wernicke’s aphasia and receptive aphasia. Fluent aphasia is sometimes referred to as “word salad” because speech tends to include random words and phrases thrown together.
Fluent aphasia results from damage to Wernicke’s area of the brain. Wernicke’s area is a part of the brain that is responsible for language comprehension. It is typically found in the left hemisphere. Both the aphasia and the area of the brain are named after Carl Wernicke, a German physician who linked these characteristics with the specific area of the brain.
These individuals often experience fewer physical limitations as a result of their stroke. Although this is beneficial, it also means that people with fluent aphasia often do not look like stroke survivors or people with disabilities. Because of this, fluent aphasia can be mistaken for intoxication or mental health issues.
A person with fluent aphasia is often unaware of their errors, and also has a comprehension impairment.
Characteristics of Fluent Aphasia
- Speech is fluent with typical prosody and intonation
- Speech does not make sense; the words do not make a coherent thought
- Speech often includes neologisms, or invented words that have no meaning
- Impairment with repeating words/phrases
- Impairment understanding spoken language, often severe
- Writing is impaired and output resembles spoken language
- Reading comprehension is impaired
- Most people are not aware of their errors