The results in the semantics and pragmatics sections were inferior to the average values obtained in the general population.27
These outcomes suggest that the most significantly affected sections are those where attention, concentration, and formation of concepts are required, thus showing the effect of FTD on the semantic and pragmatic aspects of language in schizophrenia.
This would correlate with the idea that abnormalities in associative connections between words and concepts have been considered a central element in schizophrenia. More specifically, the question is whether when patients with schizophrenia speak abnormally, the problem underlying their verbal disorders goes deeper than their speech and may be considered a product of thinking itself.52
If alterations in schizophrenic speech are the product of abnormal and disorganized thinking, then we may expect that these strange ideas may influence other aspects of their behavior, and that in other situations, these subjects could also display abnormal nonverbal behaviors and nonrealistic ideas.18
Comparing the results obtained on the TLC scale with those in other studies, the values were similar. Values are slightly higher for some of the attributes, specifically poverty of speech, pressure of speech, distractible speech, and blocking, where scores are double that of earlier ones; for the remaining attributes, the results are very similar to those obtained in previous studies.48
Furthermore, the data obtained concerning existing correlations between FTD and verbal disorders suggest that patients with schizophrenia also show a tendency to display interferences in their personal ideas in inappropriate contexts, apart from delusory ideas. Our results showing a high correspondence between the semantics and pragmatic sections and the TLC scale support the opinion that speech disorders in schizophrenia are generally due to the presence of psychopathology, given the positive correlation between the two. The more serious the psychopathology, the greater the presence of thought disorders. Our results suggest that verbal disorders in patients with schizophrenia should be considered as part of a disorder in thinking, and should be differentiated from disorders affecting only speech, in line with the suggestions of Harrow et al.54
In general, the disorganized speech, abnormal ideas, and behavior observed in schizophrenia belong to a constellation of symptoms, a wide range of which are positive, and this helps give us a better understanding of the relationship between disorganized speech and thought disorders.30
The present study shows the relationship between the Verbal-WAIS and the scales for FTD assessment, and found correlations between the Verbal-WAIS and the TLC scales. The data obtained demonstrated that the more serious the FTD, the worse the performances in Verbal-WAIS tests (particularly in its vocabulary, similarities, and comprehension sections) which allows us to conclude that FTD affect semantics and pragmatics. Our results support the main hypothesis concerning a relationship between FTD and semantic memory, which has been reported in some15
but not all56
studies carried out. Our study confirms this view, finding a link between FTD and semantic system impairment. To be precise, the more phonological and semantic fluency is observed, the greater the severity of FTD.57
This could lead us to interpret internal language as being incompatible with context and therefore with the external language generated by others. It is not difficult to imagine that if the patient’s external language shows anomalies in semantic structure, then her/his internal language may also be affected by semantic failure. The results of this investigation are consistent with those obtained by Kerns et al,58
who found that delusive patients produced more semantic associations than the norm in a verbal fluency task.
Our data correspond with the view that, from a clinical perspective, communication with schizophrenic patients can be improved by structuring speech interactions, bearing in mind that low verbal ability is associated with a deficiency in the generation of a speech plan, and is related to disorders of negative thinking in schizophrenia.59
The results obtained from our research would seem to coincide with the hypothesis that poverty of language in schizophrenia is due to difficulty in finding words.60
This may be verified, given that the results obtained in the vocabulary section of the Verbal-WAIS seem to validate this hypothesis. These results are in contrast with those reported by Berenbaum et al,6
who found no consistent results on this point in their study, and indicated that performance in finding words could not be associated with verbal ability, although it may be significantly related to the coherence of perturbed speech.