The lexical-semantic and syntactic abilities of a group of individuals with chronic nonthalamic subcortical (NS) lesions following stroke (n = 6) were investigated using the Western Aphasia Battery (WAB) picture description task [Kertesz, A. (1982). The Western aphasia battery. New York: Grune and Stratton] and compared with those of a group of subjects with Huntington's Disease (HD) (n = 6) and a nonneurologically impaired control group (n = 6) matched for age, sex, and educational level. The performance of the NS and HD subjects did not differ significantly from the well controls on measures of lexical-semantic abilities. NS and HD subjects provided as much information about the target picture as control subjects, but produced fewer action information units. Analysis of syntactic abilities revealed that the HD subjects produced significantly more grammatical errors than both the NS and control subjects and that the NS group performed in a similar manner to control subjects. These findings are considered in terms of current theories of subcortical language function. Learning outcomes: As a result of this activity, the reader will obtain information about the debate surrounding the role of subcortical language mechanisms and be provided with new information on the comparative picture description abilities of individuals with known vascular and degenerative subcortical pathologies and healthy control participants.