Fluent speech production is a critical aspect of language processing and is central to aphasia diagnosis and treatment. Multiple cognitive processes and neural subsystems must be coordinated to produce fluent narrative speech. To refine the understanding of these systems, measures that minimize the influence of other cognitive processes were defined for articulatory deficits and grammatical deficits. Articulatory deficits were measured by the proportion of phonetic errors (articulatory and prosodic) in a word repetition task in 115 participants with aphasia following left hemisphere stroke. Grammatical deficits were assessed in 46 participants based on two measures—proportion of closed class words and proportion of words in sentences—generated during semistructured narrative speech production (telling the Cinderella story). These measures were used to identify brain regions critical for articulatory and grammatical aspects of speech production using a multivariate lesion-symptom mapping approach based on support vector regression. Phonetic error proportion was associated with damage to the postcentral gyrus and the inferior parietal lobule (particularly the supramarginal gyrus). Proportion of closed class words in narrative speech did not have consistent lesion correlates. Proportion of words in sentences was strongly associated with frontal lobe damage, particularly the inferior and middle frontal gyri. Grammatical sentence structuring relies on frontal regions, particularly the inferior and middle frontal gyri, whereas phonetic-articulatory planning and execution relies on parietal regions, particularly the postcentral and supramarginal gyri. These results clarify and extend current understanding of the functional components of the frontoparietal speech production system.
- lesion-symptom mapping