Archive for January, 2012

odds and ends

January 25, 2012

After two years, here are the remaining deficits I can notice:

a. memory retrieval. I block on words and names. For days I couldn’t recall Mel Gibson’s name. (No problem just now — go figure.) Frequent tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon, and it may repeat for days. So after someone suggested “Mel Gibson” a few days ago, next day I blocked him again. I’ve had such blocks prior to the stroke, but only with very few words.

b. short-term memory. Distract me for a second, I can’t remember the previous train of thought.

c. pronouns. I still have to think carefully about how to negotiate multiple pronouns in a sentence in sundry grammatical roles.

d. [I just got distracted, and now I can’t remember what I was going to write here.]

d. typing. I frequently type a word other than the one I intend. Usually it’s a related word (usually same grammar category) or it’s a word that I just rejected. This seems to have been the very first symptom I observed of the stroke two year ago: typing a reply, the screen showed something other than what I meant to type. Happened again immediately. That’s when I guessed I was having a stroke.

e. fast speech. It seems to me I have trouble following fast speech in some contexts. At jury duty a couple of days ago, I wasn’t always sure I caught the instructions from the handler. Sometimes I have to listen twice to John Stewart’s quips.

f. [Again, distracted.]

f. agitated speech. In a heated argument, I can scarcely speak at all.

g. grammatical roles. Beyond pronouns, I also have to think through grammatical roles generally. I don’t always get them right.

h. word choice. Often can’t find the word I’d like.

It would be useful to practice speech, but social contexts are too emotionally complex for methodical practice.

Prepared speech is much easier. If I’ve thought through the topic, I’m that much more likely to express myself smoothly.

The compromise to memory is least clear. After all, I’m getting older anyway.

So I’m left with the same question as two years ago: is there a specific linguistic deficit, or is it all just a memory impairment, just a function of operating on a smaller switchboard? Only the typing phenomenon seems unrelated.

Cognitively, I seem to be fine. On my other blog, for example, I showed that widely-believed claims about ternary logic of the Aymara language are false, producing both evidence and argument, and comparing bivalent and trivalent treatments of multiple premises. It’s not the Gödel theorem, but it does better than the views of those who believe the claims about Aymara, including those of the originator, who was an AI engineer. So memory and language deficits don’t have to affect cognitive ability at all. I’m still writing and reading on economics, and I can see where other’s theories fail (I published a piece a few months ago on rent regulations which is the only analysis I know of that gets the NYC macro and micro market right, and it shows convincingly that most economists have misunderstood it, getting the empirical predictions wrong.)

Here’s the Aymara piece: