Aphemia was the name originally given by Broca to the language disorder subsequently named "Broca’s aphasia." The term is now used to describe a motor disorder of speech production with preserved comprehension of spoken and written language. This syndrome has also been called phonetic disintegration (cf. phonemic disintegration), pure anarthria, apraxic dysarthria, cortical dysarthria, verbal apraxia, subcortical motor aphasia, pure motor aphasia, small or mini Broca’s aphasia, and kinetic speech production disorder, reflecting the differing views as to the nature of the underlying disorder (aphasia, dysarthria, apraxia). Aphemia probably encompasses at least some cases of the "foreign accent syndrome", in which altered speech production and/or prosody makes speech output sound foreign. Such conditions may stand between pure disorders of speech (i.e., dysarthrias) and of language (i.e., aphasias). They usually reflect damage in the left frontal operculum, but sparing Broca’s area.



Lecours AR, Lhermitte F. The "pure" form of the phonetic disintegration syndrome (pure anarthria): anatomo-clinical report of a single case. Brain and Language 1976; 3: 88-113
Pearce JMS. Aphasia or aphemia. In: Pearce JMS. Fragments of neurological history. London: Imperial College Press, 2003: 69
Schiff HB, Alexander MP, Naeser MA, Galaburda AM. Aphemia: clinical-anatomic correlations. Archives of Neurology 1983; 40: 720-727


Cross References

Anarthria; Aphasia; Aprosodia, Aprosody; Dysarthria; Phonemic disintegration; Speech apraxia