Letter Verbal Fluency in Spanish-, Basque-, and Catalan-Speaking Individuals: Does the Selection of the Letters Influence the Outcome?

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2019 Jul 15;62(7):2400-2410. doi: 10.1044/2019_JSLHR-L-18-0365. Epub 2019 Jun 19.


Purpose The aim of this study was to compare Basque and Catalan bilinguals' performance on the letter verbal fluency test and determine whether significant differences are present depending on the letters used and the language of administration. Method The sample consisted of 87 Spanish monolinguals, 139 Basque bilinguals, and 130 Catalan bilinguals from Spain. Participants completed the letter verbal fluency test using the letters F, A, S, M, R, P, and E. Results Bilinguals scored higher on the letter verbal fluency test when they were tested in Spanish than in Basque or Catalan. No performance differences were found according to native language or dialects within Basque participants. Catalans with Spanish as their native language scored lower on the letter F compared to those who grew up speaking Catalan and Spanish. The suggested letters to use with Basque speakers are A, E, and B; the suggested letters to use with Catalan speakers are P, F, and M; and the suggested letters to use with Spanish speakers are M, R, and P. Conclusion Selecting appropriate stimuli depending on the language of testing is the first crucial step to assess verbal fluency and thus possible frontal lobe functioning impairment.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Choice Behavior / physiology*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Multilingualism*
  • Reading
  • Spain / ethnology
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Vocabulary*
  • Writing