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Structural prominence and agrammatic theta-role assignment: A reconsideration of linear strategies

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Friederici,  Angela D.
MPI of Cognitive Neuroscience (Leipzig, -2003), The Prior Institutes, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Gorrell,  Paul
MPI of Cognitive Neuroscience (Leipzig, -2003), The Prior Institutes, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Friederici, A. D., & Gorrell, P. (1998). Structural prominence and agrammatic theta-role assignment: A reconsideration of linear strategies. Brain and Language, 65(2), 253-275.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-DC9F-E
Abstract
In this paper we examine the tendency for agrammatic aphasics to make thematic reversal errors in comprehension, e.g., a tendency for English-speaking agrammatics to assign a preposed object the subject role. Although this tendency has been argued to follow from either a linear (Grodzinsky, 1995) or a directionality (Hagiwara & Caplan, 1990) strategy, we show that such proposals can, at best, function as language-particular strategies. We examine data from English, Japanese, German and Dutch, and propose a Structural Prominence Hypothesis which captures the following cross-linguistic generalization: thematic reversal errors result from a tendency to assign thematic roles based on the relative structural prominence of the candidate NPs.