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Journal Article

Grammatical morphology in aphasia: Evidence from three languages

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Bates, E., Friederici, A. D., & Wulfeck, B. (1987). Grammatical morphology in aphasia: Evidence from three languages. Cortex, 23(4), 545-574.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-58FB-9
Abstract
Aspects of grammatical morphology in Broca's and Wernicke's aphasia were elicited under controlled conditions in three language groups: English, Italian and German. Results suggest that the agrammatism/paragrammatism distinction does not work well for richly-inflected languages. Language-specific ratios of closed class morphology were preserved even among non-fluent patients, with significantly more morphology produced by German and Italian patients. German and Italian patients were also much more likely to furnish the article before nouns - despite or perhaps because of the fact that articles are more complex and informative in those languages. Although patients assigned the correct article most of the time, there were a significant number of article errors (i.e. paragrammatic substitution). Error analyses showed that substitutions are not random, reflecting difficulty in access rather than loss. Substitutions were more common in German, where the complex case and gender markings on the article increase the probability of error. Within each language, error patterns were quite similar for Broca's and Wernicke's aphasics. However, at a detailed level patient group differences in error production were detected. German Broca's aphasics tend to avoid difficult case forms by substituting a simpler, less-marked morphosyntactic frame. Wernicke's aphasics try instead to.produce the more marked, oblique constructions, resulting in a less conservative error pattern.