When there is a rock in our path, we can stumble over it or use it as a stepping stone.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Word Substitution Errors

One of the first things that brought home to me that something very untoward was happening in my brain was when I frequently began to find myself typing homonyms of the word I meant such as "write" instead of "right."  

I have had a love affair with words since I was a young child.   (I was reading the New York Times when I was four years old.)    As I wrote about in my post on Cognitive Reserve, when I was formally tested by a psychologist when I was a Sophomore in High School, my reading comprehension and vocabulary levels were at the level expected of a College Professor.   Thus for me to find myself regularly using words incorrectly was not something that I could just brush off.

I try to always find the silver lining.   In this case it the fascinating glimpse into the workings of my brain that I get when I see the words that my brain chooses.   For example,

*  in my last post, I typed "paper" when I meant "patient."    In this case, the initial sounds of the word are the same.   I think my brain was also giving me a tongue in cheek error as in my Early Onset Dementia post, I had said "In neurologist speak, Ideopathic Dementia basically means 'ok, you clearly have dementia but you don't fit the pattern for any known dementia, so I'm just going to watch and see what happens with you and maybe someday I'll write a paper about this new dementia I discovered.'"

*  Another type of error that I often find myself making is doing things such as saying or typing  something like "Memorial Day" instead of something like "Labor Day" or replacing the word "stove" with the word "sink," etc.   i.e., my brain realizes the correct category but chooses the wrong data within that category.

Other times, I can find absolutely no rhyme or reason to the words my brain chooses to substitute but am simply glad that sometimes the choices end up being very funny, giving myself and others around me a good laugh.

I  encourage any who might find this page to leave a comment sharing with me how your dementia has impacted your verbal abilities (written and spoken) including, if you wish,  any that made you laugh,  as I love laughter.    


Mary said...

It's interesting that my husband used to pause and search for words. Now he just seamlessly substitutes the wrong word.

The funniest word problem he experienced was at my son's basketball game. My son's team intercepted the ball and was making a fast break to the other end of the court.

We were sitting right on the line at the side of the court and my husband yelled as loud as he could: "Russell!"

There was no Russell on our team, so I looked at him quizically and asked, "Russell? Really? Who is Russell?"

He just grinned and shrugged.

I later figured out that was probably a hybrid word - "run" and "hussle" all at once :)

Stumblinn said...

That is interesting. That is one my brain rarely does (combining words). That is something I never considered (but think I should have) that even the same types of problems (such as with words) will manifest differently.

I look forward to this blog being a learning experience for me as others share their journey (or their loved ones' journeys) in the comments.

Thank you for your comment, Mary.