ERIC Number: EJ784481
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Production of Non-Canonical Sentences in Agrammatic Aphasia: Limits in Representation or Rule Application?
Burchert, Frank; Meissner, Nadine; De Bleser, Ria
Brain and Language, v104 n2 p170-179 Feb 2008
The study reported here compares two linguistically informed hypotheses on agrammatic sentence production, the TPH [Friedmann, N., & Grodzinsky, Y. (1997). "Tense and agreement in agrammatic production: Pruning the syntactic tree." "Brain and Language," 56, 397-425.] and the DOP [Bastiaanse, R., & van Zonneveld, R. (2005). "Sentence production with verbs of alternating transitivity in agrammatic Broca's aphasia." "Journal of Neurolinguistics," 18, 59-66]. To explain impaired production of non-canonical sentences in agrammatism, the TPH basically relies on deleted or pruned clause structure positions in the left periphery, whereas the DOP appeals to limitations in the application of movement rules. Certain non-canonical sentences such as object-questions and object-relative clauses require the availability of nodes in the left periphery as well as movement to these nodes. In languages with relatively fixed word order such as English, the relevant test cases generally involve a coincidence of left periphery and movement, such that the predictions of the TPH and the DOP are identical although for different reasons. In languages with relatively free word order such as German, on the other hand, it is possible to devise specific tests of the different predictions due to the availability of scrambling. Scrambled object sentences, for example, do not involve the left periphery but do require application of movement in a domain below the left periphery. A study was conducted with German agrammatic subjects which elicited canonical sentences without object movement and non-canonical scrambled sentences with object movement. The results show that agrammatic speakers have a particular problem with the production of scrambled sentences. Further evidence reported in the study from spontaneous speech, elicitation of object relatives, questions and passives and with different agrammatic subjects confirms that non-canonical sentences are generally harder to produce for agrammatics. These findings provide evidence in favor of the DOP and it will be argued that a cross-modal explanation of agrammatic deficits is possible if two factors--movement and canonicity--are taken into consideration.
Descriptors: Syntax, Speech, Neurolinguistics, Phrase Structure, Aphasia, Word Order, German, English, Grammar, Language Processing
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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