Verb and sentence processing patterns in healthy Italian participants: Insight from the Northwestern Assessment of Verbs and Sentences (NAVS)

Elena Barbieri*, Irene Brambilla, Cynthia K. Thompson, Claudio Luzzatti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

We developed an Italian version of the Northwestern Assessment of Verbs and Sentences (NAVS, Thompson, 2011), a test assessing verb and sentence deficits typically found in aphasia, by focusing on verb-argument structure and syntactic complexity effects, rarely captured by standard language tests. Twenty-one young healthy individuals underwent a computerized experimental version of the NAVS, including three subtests assessing production/comprehension of verbs with different number (one, two, three) and type (obligatory or optional) of arguments, and two investigating production/comprehension of sentences with canonical/non-canonical word order. The number of verb arguments affected participants’ reaction times (RTs) in verb naming and comprehension. Furthermore, verbs with optional arguments were processed faster than verbs with only obligatory arguments. Comprehension accuracy was lower for object-cleft vs. subject-cleft sentences. Object clefts and object relatives also elicited longer RTs than subject clefts and subject relatives, respectively. The study shows that the NAVS is sensitive to linguistic aspects of verb/sentence processing in Italian as in the English language. The study also highlights some differences between languages in the verb/sentence processing patterns of healthy individuals. Finally, the study contributes to the understanding of how information about verb-argument structure is represented and processed in healthy individuals, with reference to current models of verb processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-75
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Communication Disorders
Volume79
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2019

Keywords

  • Aphasia
  • Comprehension
  • Production
  • Sentence
  • Verb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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