Grammatical planning units during real-time sentence production in speakers with agrammatic aphasia and healthy speakers

Jiyeon Lee*, Masaya Yoshida, Cynthia K. Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Grammatical encoding (GE) is impaired in agrammatic aphasia; however, the nature of such deficits remains unclear. We examined grammatical planning units during real-time sentence production in speakers with agrammatic aphasia and control speakers, testing two competing models of GE. We queried whether speakers with agrammatic aphasia produce sentences word by word without advanced planning or whether hierarchical syntactic structure (i.e., verb argument structure; VAS) is encoded as part of the advanced planning unit. Method: Experiment 1 examined production of sentences with a predefined structure (i.e., “The A and the B are above the C”) using eye tracking. Experiment 2 tested production of transitive and unaccusative sentences without a predefined sentence structure in a verb-priming study. Results: In Experiment 1, both speakers with agrammatic aphasia and young and age-matched control speakers used word-by-word strategies, selecting the first lemma (noun A) only prior to speech onset. However, in Experiment 2, unlike controls, speakers with agrammatic aphasia preplanned transitive and unaccusative sentences, encoding VAS before speech onset. Conclusions: Speakers with agrammatic aphasia show incremental, word-by-word production for structurally simple sentences, requiring retrieval of multiple noun lemmas. However, when sentences involve functional (thematic to grammatical) structure building, advanced planning strategies (i.e., VAS encoding) are used. This early use of hierarchical syntactic information may provide a scaffold for impaired GE in agrammatism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1194
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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