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LINGUIST List 21.2187

Tue May 11 2010

Diss: Psycholing/Neuroling: Peristeri: 'Exploring the Discourse...'

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        1.    Eleni Peristeri, Exploring the Discourse-Syntax and the Lexicon-Syntax Interfaces in Language Pathology: Evidence from Broca's aphasia

Message 1: Exploring the Discourse-Syntax and the Lexicon-Syntax Interfaces in Language Pathology: Evidence from Broca's aphasia
Date: 11-May-2010
From: Eleni Peristeri <eperisteenl.auth.gr>
Subject: Exploring the Discourse-Syntax and the Lexicon-Syntax Interfaces in Language Pathology: Evidence from Broca's aphasia
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Institution: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Program: PhD in Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Eleni Peristeri

Dissertation Title: Exploring the Discourse-Syntax and the Lexicon-Syntax Interfaces in Language Pathology: Evidence from Broca's aphasia

Linguistic Field(s): Neurolinguistics
                            Psycholinguistics

Subject Language(s): Greek (ell)

Dissertation Director:
Ianthi Tsimpli
Kyrana Tsapkini

Dissertation Abstract:

The present thesis is an examination of eight Greek-speaking aphasic
speakers with non-fluent speech following a focal lesion or a haemorrhagic
episode in the left hemisphere. Our study re-examines the notoriously
problematic competence-performance issue from a novel perspective that
focuses on the agrammatic processing of the interfaces. Thus, the
explanatory framework we adopt considers the language faculty to
incorporate interfaces between distinct components of the grammar, so that
agrammatic deficit may not be strictly localized on the subcomponents of
the syntax, the morphology, or the lexicon. A series of both on-line and
off-line experiments was run across both the comprehension and the
production modality, with the aim of circumventing processing to linguistic
structures conditioned at the discourse-syntax and the lexicon-syntax
interface. More specifically, the aphasic group (along with the fifteen
language-unimpaired control subjects matched with the aphasic patients
along age and educational level) were administered two on-line tests
checking the interpretation of null and overt subject pronouns in
referentially ambiguous intra- and inter-sentential contexts, as well as a
sentence-picture matching, an elicitation, a repetition, and a cross-modal
lexical priming task checking the production and processing of reflexive,
transitive and (both active and non-active) anti-causative verbs in Greek.
The results of these experiments show selective difficulty (i) with the
integration of discourse information regulating the interpretation of the
overt subject pronoun, and (ii) with accessing lexicon-filtered information
regulating the anti-causative sub-categorization of active intransitive
verbs. The data also reveals the extensive use of compensatory and
heuristic strategies on behalf of both the controls and especially the
eight aphasic patients, primarily aiming at offsetting the computational
cost under deep processing conditions. The parsing preference of subject
prominence, the non-active morpheme serving as a cue to transitivity
changes in verbs, and animacy heuristics were among the most popular
parsing strategies found to be employed during off-line and (mainly)
on-line sentence processing. We speculate on these findings in terms of
both performance (vs. competence) limitations related to the properties of
interface-conditioned information, as well as a conceptualization of
Broca's aphasia through both linguistic and cognitive/executive dysfunctions.



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