Verb and auxiliary movement in agrammatic Broca's aphasia

Roelien Bastiaanse*, Cynthia K. Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Verb production in agrammatic Broca's aphasia has repeatedly been shown to be impaired by a number of investigators. Not only is the number of verbs produced often significantly reduced, but verb inflections and auxiliaries are often omitted as well (e.g., Bastiaanse, Jonkers, & Moltmaker-Osinga, 1996; Saffran, Berndt, & Schwartz, 1989; Thompson, Shapiro, Li, & Schendel, 1994, 1997). It has been suggested that these problems are, in part, caused by the fact that finite verbs need to be moved from their base-generated position to inflectional nodes in the syntactic tree (e.g., Bastiaanse & Van Zonneveld, 1998). Others have suggested that production deficits in agrammatism can be predicted based on the position that certain structures take in the syntactic tree (Friedmann & Grodzinsky, 1997; Hagiwara, 1995). If the former theory is correct, several predictions can be made. First of all, the discrepancy between production of finite verbs in the matrix and embedded clause that has been found for Dutch (Bastiaanse & Van Zonneveld, 1998) should not be observed in English, since the word order of the matrix and embedded clause are the same in the latter language. Second, if verb movement (including movement of auxiliaries) is problematic for speakers with agrammatic aphasia, then a hierarchy in the production of auxiliaries in yes/no questions, auxiliaries, and finite verbs in declarative sentences in English would be expected, since the former has been moved and the two latter are in base-generated position. In the present paper, these hypotheses were tested in a cross-linguistic study of Dutch and English. Results showed the position in the syntactic tree does not predict deficit patterns; rather the critical factor appears to relate to whether or not verb or auxiliary movement is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-305
Number of pages20
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2003


  • Agrammatism
  • Auxiliaries
  • Broca's aphasia
  • Cross-linguistic studies
  • Verb movement
  • Verbs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing


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