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Poster A28, Wednesday, November 8, 10:30 – 11:45 am, Harborview and Loch Raven Ballrooms

(Morpho)syntactic production in agrammatic aphasia: Testing three hypotheses within a cross-linguistic approach

Valantis Fyndanis1,2, Gabriele Miceli3, Carlo Semenza4,5, Rita Capasso6, Paraskevi Christidou7, Serena de Pellegrin4, Marialuisa Gandolfi8, Helen Killmer1,2, Lambros Messinis9, Panagiotis Papathanasopoulos9, Eugenia Panagea9, Nicola Smania8, Frank Burchert2, Isabell Wartenburger2;1University of Oslo, Norway, 2University of Potsdam, Germany, 3University of Trento, Padua, 4University of Padua, Italy, 5Fondazione Ospedale San Camillo, Italy, 6SCA Associates, Italy, 7Evexia Rehabilitation Center, Greece, 8University of Verona, Italy, 9University of Patras, Greece

INTRODUCTION Impaired (morpho)syntactic production is the hallmark of agrammatic aphasia. Several hypotheses have been proposed to account for agrammatic patterns of (morpho)syntactic production. Within a cross-linguistic approach, this study tests three recent hypotheses that have not been tested adequately thus far: Distributed Morphology Hypothesis (DMH) (e.g., Wang, Yoshida, & Thompson, 2014); Tense Underspecification Hypothesis (TUH) (Wenzlaff & Clahsen, 2004, 2005); and Interpretable Features’ Impairment Hypothesis (IFIH) (e.g., Fyndanis, Varlokosta, & Tsapkini, 2012). According to the DMH, categories involving inflectional alternations (e.g., Tense, Agreement) are impaired in agrammatic aphasia; moreover, such categories are expected to be similarly affected. The TUH states that what is impaired in agrammatic aphasia is Tense; Agreement and Mood are well-preserved. The IFIH posits that categories involving integration processes (e.g., Tense, Mood, Polarity) are more impaired than categories that do not involve integration processes (e.g., Agreement). Given the inherent properties of these categories and the way they are encoded in the languages of interest here (Greek, Italian, German), the above hypotheses make the following predictions: the DMH expects Agreement, Tense and Mood to be comparably impaired in German and Italian agrammatic aphasia, and Agreement and Tense to be comparably impaired in Greek agrammatic aphasia. The TUH expects Agreement and Mood to be better preserved than Tense in all three languages. According to the IFIH, Agreement should be better preserved than Tense, Mood and Polarity in all three languages. METHODS Nine German-, 10 Italian- and 8 Greek-speaking persons with agrammatic aphasia (PWA), as well as 14 German-, 11 Italian- and 8 Greek-speaking age- and education-matched healthy controls, were administered a sentence completion task tapping subject-verb Agreement and Tense (similar to that employed by Fyndanis et al., 2013), a sentence completion task tapping Mood (based on Wenzlaff & Clahsen, 2005), and an anagram task tapping Polarity (based on Rispens et al., 2001). Individual data were analysed using Fisher’s exact test for count data. To analyze data at the group level, mixed-effect models were fitted to the German, Italian and Greek datasets. RESULTS & DISCUSSION In all three languages, the control groups fared significantly better than the three PWA groups. At the individual level, of the 27 PWA, only 4 lend support to the DMH (Wang et al., 2014) and only 5 lend support to the TUH (Wenzlaff & Clahsen, 2004, 2005). None of 27 PWA lends support to the IFIH (Fyndanis et al., 2012). The patterns of performance exhibited by the German, Italian and Greek groups of PWA were Polarity>Mood>Agreement>Tense, Polarity>Agreement/Tense>Mood, and Agreement/Mood>Polarity>Tense, respectively. Therefore, only the Greek group lends support to only one of the three hypotheses tested here: TUH (Wenzlaff & Clahsen, 2004, 2005). Thus, none of the three hypotheses gains cross-linguistic empirical support. The results suggest that a unitary account of agrammatic aphasia is unlikely to succeed. A number of factors such as subject-specific characteristics, language-independent and language-specific properties of (morpho)syntactic categories, and task-specific features of linguistic materials may interact in determining the way in which (morpho)syntactic impairments manifest themselves across PWA and languages. REFERENCES Fyndanis, V., Manouilidou, C., Koufou, E., Karampekios, S., & Tsapakis, E. M. (2013). Agrammatic patterns in Alzheimer’s disease: Evidence from tense, agreement, and aspect. Aphasiology, 27, 178–200. Fyndanis, V., Varlokosta, S., & Tsapkini, K. (2012). Agrammatic production: Interpretable features and selective impairment in verb inflection. Lingua, 122, 1134–1147. Rispens, J. E., & Bastiaanse, Y. R. M. (2001). Negation in agrammatism: A cross-linguistic comparison. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 14, 59–83. Wang, H., Yoshida, M., & Thompson, C. K. (2014). Parallel functional category deficits in clauses and nominal phrases: The case of English agrammatism. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 27, 75–102. Wenzlaff, M., & Clahsen, H. (2004). Tense and agreement in German agrammatism. Brain and Language, 89, 57–68. Wenzlaff, M., & Clahsen, H. (2005). Finiteness and verb-second in German agrammatism. Brain and Language, 92, 33–44.

Topic Area: Language Disorders

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