PSP Association
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Repeating phrases?

Hi, we have noticed over the past couple of months my mother in laws speech becoming very slow and slurred. When she does try to speak she simply repeats the last thing someone else said, some times several times over. Her speech is almost 'parrot-like' if you know what I mean. It doesn't seem to bother her but is worrying for us. Does anyone else have similar experience of this?

Thank you all


14 Replies

Yes my wife's speech is now almost unintelligible and like your mother in law invariably repeats the last thing said to her.Yet another symptom of this lousy illness.



Hi Bubbles, my hubby does the same thing ...and it gets quite confusing sometimes. If asked a direct question, he will repeat the last part of the question so it seems as if that is his answer. I think your "parroting" description is accurate as I have seen it called that in some of the medical literature. With my husband, it's as if he is still processing the question and the last of it comes out---most often if he is trying to decide on a choice for dinner or between TV shows, etc. I have to say it makes it hard to get to the right answer sometimes. Hang in there, and sorry to hear your family is dealing with all this. ---RosemarieLynn


Hi Bubbles - this is normal. My dad didn't do this but several of our support group members with PSP did. It seemed to happen to the women vs the men in our group - just an observation.


My mother started parroting well over a year ago. She simply repeats back whatever phrase you have asked. And...for the last three years her response is always initially "No". If you take time to ask her again she usually responds with a yes or no appropriately. When visiting with doctors I let them know that her initial response was most often "no" and asked that they ask her a second time to be sure of her response. Are you in any pain? "No". When asked a second time or given a gentle reminder, if she had pain she was able to answer appropriately.


Yes, we have the same problem with Frank, the speech is getting so weak now, and sometimes these are the only words we get from him. Also appears his neck muscles are getting weaker as his head is tilted back a lot. - I HATE PSP................


:-( Sending hugs for you and Frank



yes we had this-it is known as echolalia. I had to keep explaining this to the nursing home as they would say mum had'refused' a bath because they always said the wrong sort of question-e.g do you want a bath or do you want to stay in bed / do you want to go out or stay in your room etc. I had to actually train them to ask the question direct and wait for a yes or no. Kay-we have the same now with mum-her head is tilted back a lot but mainly as it is weak-it is not rigid at the moment. I have to keep explaining to carers that she needs it supported to prevent her saliva from trickling down her throat.Inate PSP too. more so because it follows the relentless path and there is no exception to the inevitable.Bless them all they don't deserve it.


Bubbles, Haven't had the repeating thing with my wife but slurred and hard to understand certainly. I've found that by saying "Sharyn please swallow and repeat that" it is better. I think the build up of saliva in the mouth plus the lack of muscle control of the tongue is what causes the speech issue. Whatever works.



Hi, Bubbles.My father has psp and he does this very often, he repeats something that someone else just said.Sometimes he gets 'stuck' in a phrase and he repeats the same thing many many times.Best wishes to you and your family, John.


I am not there yet but trust I will be. I hope my loved ones read this when they need it. Lucille


Hi Folks

Thank you all very much for your feedback.

Sometimes it can be very noticable, yesterday when the doctor called to see her she repeated every sentence he said back to him, its heartbreaking to watch.

God bless all living with this horrible illness.

Bubbles x



Thanks for this post; you helped answer my own question; even mentioned it to my Neurologist & he didn't have any comment.

First of all, my speech has slowly been getting goofed up over the past few years, and in advance of my PSP diagnosis 8-12. Those around me most really noticed; my daughters' claim to be my 'translators'. Can't quite describe it, but I called it verbal dyslexia...??? There is/has been more than a few issues with my speech.

However, starting a few months ago, I found myself spontaneously repeating the last sentence I heard on a commercial, a television program, or something someone just said to me, etc. And I had absolutely no clue as to why. This repetition of a sentence, or sometimes just a word, can go on for minutes or up to an hour.

This explains a lot, so thank you very much (by-the-way, I can write a lot better than I can speak).


Minnesota, USA


Oh my gosh, sorry for the oversight. Thanks as well to all that responded to this question. You are so very appreciated and I'm so glad I discovered this site.



regarding the neck stiffness..i have observed that when i do shave for my dad his neck is very rigid and he is often not able to relax his muscles and bend neck backwards..

also his most of the muscles are always in a tensed state and doctors say that that is also a cause for the osteoarthritis as his muscles dont get rest and traumatize the joint..

on the contrary i have read msgs statin that muscle weakness is i am not able to corelate.

and yes its difficult to get the right answer from them.

they would usually say that they r normal and they dont need help..but when u give them time and attention they wioll open up and u ll realise that they do think and dream a lot more than we imagined..also there observation power is still good as ours and our few actions might hurt them as at times we think they r ignorant or not paying attention...ofcourse they cant modify there body language or express that wel thru eyes but their thinking is very much intact..


Dr. Manak Gupta


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