Syntactic accuracy in sentence production: The case of gender disagreement in Italian language-impaired and unimpaired speakers

Gabriella Vigliocco, Tiziana Zilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We report three experiments with language-impaired and unimpaired speakers of Italian, assessing: (1) whether nonsyntactic (both conceptual and morphophonological) information is used in encoding the syntactic structure of a sentence; and (2) whether the integration of syntactic and nonsyntactic information can be differentially impaired in Broca's aphasics. In all the experiments, gender agreement errors between a noun, subject of the sentence, and a predicative adjective were induced by presenting participants with sentence fragments to complete. The first experiment assessed the role of conceptual information. The second experiment investigated whether agreement is disrupted by the presence of another noun with different gender in the subject noun phrase. In the last experiment, we assessed whether morphophonological cues are used. We found that both populations used nonsyntactic information (both conceptual and morphophonological). However, patients were disrupted to a greater extent than normals by the presence of a gender mismatching noun in the subject noun phrase. The results are discussed in terms of how information integration during production is achieved and how it can be disrupted in aphasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-648
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Volume28
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics

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