ERIC Number: EJ797433
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Reference Count: 0
Reply to David Kemmerer's "A Critique of Mark D. Allen's "The Preservation of Verb Subcategory Knowledge in a Spoken Language Comprehension Deficit""
Allen, Mark D.; Owens, Tyler E.
Brain and Language, v106 n1 p79-81 Jul 2008
Allen [Allen, M. D. (2005). The preservation of verb subcategory knowledge in a spoken language comprehension deficit. "Brain and Language, "95, 255-264] presents evidence from a single patient, WBN, to motivate a theory of lexical processing and representation in which syntactic information may be encoded and retrieved independently of semantic information. In his critique, Kemmerer argues that because Allen depended entirely on preposition-based verb subcategory violations to test WBN's knowledge of correct argument structure, his results, at best, address a "strawman" theory. This argument rests on the assumption that preposition subcategory options are superficial syntactic phenomena which are not represented by argument structure proper. We demonstrate that preposition subcategory is in fact treated as semantically determined argument structure in the theories that Allen evaluated, and thus far from irrelevant. In further discussion of grammatically relevant versus irrelevant semantic features, Kemmerer offers a review of his own studies. However, due to an important design shortcoming in these experiments, we remain unconvinced. Reemphasizing the fact the Allen (2005) never claimed to rule out all semantic contributions to syntax, we propose an improvement in Kemmerer's approach that might provide more satisfactory evidence on the distinction between the kinds of relevant versus irrelevant features his studies have addressed.
Descriptors: Listening Comprehension, Speech Communication, Semantics, Verbs, Syntax, Oral Language, Semiotics, Language Processing
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
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