Skip to main content
Measuring Lexical Diversity in Narrative Discourse of People With Aphasia
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (2013)
  • Gerasimos Fergadiotis, Portland State University
  • Heather Harris Wright, Arizona State University
  • Thomas M. West, Arizona State University

Purpose A microlinguistic content analysis for assessing lexical semantics in people with aphasia (PWA) is lexical diversity (LD). Sophisticated techniques have been developed to measure LD. However, validity evidence for these methodologies when applied to the discourse of PWA is lacking. The purpose of this study was to evaluate four measures of LD to determine how effective they were at measuring LD in PWA. Method Four measures of LD were applied to short discourse samples produced by 101 PWA: (a) the Measure of Textual Lexical Diversity (MTLD; McCarthy, 2005), (b) the Moving-Average Type-Token Ratio (MATTR; Covington, 2007), (c) D (McKee, Malvern, & Richards, 2000), and (d) the Hypergeometric Distribution (HD-D; McCarthy & Jarvis, 2007). LD was estimated using each method, and the scores were subjected to a series of analyses (e.g., curve-fitting, analysis of variance, confirmatory factor analysis). Results Results from the confirmatory factor analysis suggested that MTLD and MATTR reflect LD and little of anything else. Further, two indices (HD-D and D) were found to be equivalent, suggesting that either one can be used when samples are >50 tokens. Conclusion MTLD and MATTR yielded the strongest evidence for producing unbiased LD scores, suggesting that they may be the best measures for capturing LD in PWA.

  • Aphasia -- Case studies,
  • Lexical phonology
Publication Date
May, 2013
Publisher Statement
Copyright (2013) American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Citation Information
Gerasimos Fergadiotis, Heather Harris Wright and Thomas M. West. "Measuring Lexical Diversity in Narrative Discourse of People With Aphasia" American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology Vol. 22 (2013)
Available at: