Oct 1, 1989

Agrammatic comprehension of relative clauses

Brain and Language
Yosef Grodzinsky


Four hypotheses that attempt to account for the comprehension deficit in agrammatism are put to an empirical test. The interest in them is in that they all view the deficit as highly selective. The first, proposed by D. Caplan and C. Futter (1986, Brain and Language, 27, 117-134), argues that agrammatic patients cannot carry out normal syntactic analysis beyond the category label of each incoming lexical item and are reduced to the use of a cognitive strategy that commends assignment of thematic roles to noun phrases merely by their linear position in the string. A second, less radical hypothesis (Y. Grodzinsky, 1986a, Brain and Language, 27, 135-159), accounts for the deficit differently, by deleting a particular kind of syntactic object (trace) from the otherwise normal representation, and augmenting the resulting, underspecified representation by a strategy, whose use is quite restricted. A third account that is tested contends that agrammatic aphasics fail to comprehend perceptually complex constructions, where the metric for complexity is determined by results obtained from comprehension tests of normal listeners. The fourth account (M. F. Schwartz, M. C. Linebarger, E. M. Saffran, and D. S. Pate, 1987, Language and Cognit...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Memory for Designs Test
Gene Deletion Abnormality
Aphasia, Broca
Deletion Mutation
PATE1 gene
Schwartz-Jampel Syndrome

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