Training and generalized production of wh- and NP-movement structures in agrammatic aphasia

Cynthia K. Thompson*, Lewis P. Shapiro, Kirrie J. Ballard, Beverly J. Jacobs, Sandra S. Schneider, Mary E. Tait

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The present research examines production of 'complex' sentences, which involve movement of noun phrases (NPs), in 2 agrammatic aphasic subjects. According to linguistic theory (Chomsky, 1991, 1993), such sentences are derived using one of two movement operations, either wh- or NP-movement, subsumed under the general rule 'move alpha.' In this experiment recovery of both wh- and NP-movement derived sentences was investigated using a treatment research paradigm. Subjects were sequentially trained to produce either wh- movement (i.e., who questions, object clefs) or NP-movement (i.e., passives, subject-raising structures) derived sentences. Throughout training, generalization to untrained sentences relying on both types of movement was tested. The influence of training on aspects of narrative discourse also was examined. Results showed generalization patterns constrained to type of movement: Training wh-movement structures resulted in generalized production of untrained wh-movement structures without influencing production of NP- movement structures. Similarly, training of NP-movement structures resulted in generalization only to other sentence types also relying on NP-movement. Aspects of sentence production in narrative contexts also was improved with treatment. These data indicate that movement to an argument (A) position as in NP-movement is distinct from movement to a nonargument (A-bar) position, required in wh-movement. The site where movement terminates in the s- structure of noncanonical sentences appears to influence sentence production. These findings show that linguistic properties of sentences influence sentence production breakdown and recovery in aphasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-244
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • Agrammatic aphasia
  • Generalization
  • Neurolinguistics
  • Sentence production
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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