When speaking with someone with aphasia, you might notice that their speech doesn’t have the typical rhythm that you are used to. This is because of dysprosody. Dysprosody is a common characteristic in some types of aphasia.
Dysprosody refers to speech that has an atypical or absent rhythm, intonation, melody, or start/stop pattern. When people without aphasia speak, their connected speech has prosody. Prosody includes:
- A fluid rhythm
- Variations in intonation (help convey meaning and mood)
- Pauses at sentence breaks
- Varying volume
Prosody tends to occur naturally as someone speaks; it can also be intentionally altered to convey a certain mood or tone, such as sarcasm. However, people with dysprosody might find that their speech is halting, in a monotone, and does not have the typical speech rhythm.
Dysprosody is most common in non-fluent, or Broca’s aphasia. Dysprosody is also very common in people with apraxia, which can often co-occur with aphasia.