Word formation: New evidence from aphasia

Carlo Semenza, Brian Butterworth, Marta Panzeri, Tiziana Ferreri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three aphasic patients are described whose speech contains invented word-forms which are legal combinations of meaningful parts of real words, like "fratellismo" (brother + ness) instead of "fratellanza" (brother + hood), and from combinations of meaningless and meaningful parts, like "terness + ico" (where "ico" is a real adjectival ending). These phenomena are previously unreported. On the assumption that brain-damaged patients use residual rather than novel abilities, these forms, along with the patients' predominant use of real compound words, indicate that speakers have a procedure for composing polymorphemic words online, but this is employed just when trying to find a whole word fails.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-502
Number of pages4
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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