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Greater syntactic impairments in native language in bilingual Parkinsonian patients
  1. S Zanini1,
  2. A Tavano2,
  3. L Vorano3,
  4. F Schiavo4,
  5. G L Gigli4,
  6. S M Aglioti5,
  7. F Fabbro2
  1. 1Department of Physiology and Pathology, University of Trieste, Italy
  2. 2IRCCS “E. Medea”, S. Vito al Tagliamento and University of Udine, Udine, Italy
  3. 3Regional Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Udine, Italy
  4. 4Department of Neurology-Neurophysiopathology, Civil Hospital, Udine, Italy
  5. 5Department of Psychology, University “La Sapienza” and IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S Zanini
 Department of Physiology and Pathology, University of Trieste, Via Fleming 22, 34127 Trieste, Italy;


Objective: To investigate the presence of syntactic impairments in native language in Parkinson’s disease.

Methods: Twelve bilingual patients, with Friulian as their first language (L1) and Italian as their second (L2), with Parkinson’s disease and 12 normal controls matched for age, sex, and years of schooling, were studied on three syntactic tasks.

Results: Patients with Parkinson’s disease showed a greater impairment of L1 than L2.

Conclusions: These findings provide evidence of greater basal ganglia involvement in the acquisition and further processing of grammar in L1 v L2 possibly due to a major involvement of procedural memory in representing L1 grammar.

  • BAT, Bilingual Aphasia Test
  • MMSE, Mini Mental State Examination
  • PD, Parkinson’s disease
  • WCST, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test
  • basal ganglia
  • bilingualism
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • syntax

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  • This work was supported by a grant from the Italian Department of Health to IRCCS “E. Medea” (Current Research Project 2001)

  • Competing interests: none declared