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Investigating the sub-processes involved in the production of thematic structure: An analysis of four people with aphasia
Janet Webster a; Sue Franklin a; David Howard a a University of Newcastle, UK.

To cite this Article Webster, Janet, Franklin, Sue and Howard, David(2004) 'Investigating the sub-processes involved in the

production of thematic structure: An analysis of four people with aphasia', Aphasiology, 18: 1, 47 — 68 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/02687030344000481 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02687030344000481

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APHASIOLOGY, 2004, 18 (1), 47±68

Investigating the sub-processes involved in the production of thematic structure: An analysis of four people with aphasia
Janet Webster, Sue Franklin, and David Howard
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University of Newcastle, UK
Background: Schwartz (1987) suggested that three discrete sub-processes may be involved in the production of the thematic structure of sentences. These are: (1) The retrieval of the semantic representations of the main lexical items; (2) The specification of the predicate argument structure (PAS); and (3) The assignment of the lexical items to thematic roles within the PAS. There has been no comprehensive investigation of the three aspects of processing in the performance of individual people with aphasia. Aims: This study aimed to investigate the presence of the three sub-processes by determining whether they can be differentially impaired in aphasia. Methods & Procedures: Four people with aphasia (GW, JM, KD, and TJ) who had apparent difficulties in producing thematic structure were included in the study. They presented with similar surface symptoms in connected speech: a high percentage of single phrases, limited production of complex three-argument structures, and the omission of obligatory arguments. Their performance on various tests of single word and sentence processing was compared to that of normal control subjects and the pattern of errors analysed. Outcomes & Results: The clients presented with different patterns of impaired and retained performance and different patterns of error. This suggested that different underlying impairments were responsible for their poor production of thematic structure. All four clients presented with some verb retrieval difficulties, although only GW and TJ's deficits were of a semantic nature. TJ also had difficulty understanding and retrieving nouns, but when given the words showed awareness of the PAS and could assign thematic roles appropriately. JM presented with a specific difficulty specifying the PAS, and KD had a specific difficulty with thematic role assignment. GW had difficulties both with the specification of PAS and thematic role assignment. Conclusions: The results of the study suggest that difficulties in producing the thematic structure of sentences may be a consequence of different underlying impairments. The different impairments provide some support for the sub-processes suggested by Schwartz. The same surface symptoms in connected speech can be a consequence of different underlying impairments and thus if therapy is be targeted at the impaired process, treatment needs to be preceded by detailed assessment.

Garrett's (1980) model of normal sentence production has been used to describe the deficits seen in people with aphasia (Schwartz, 1987). This model conceives sentence production as a series of independent processing levels each corresponding to a level of linguistic representation. Within this model, the functional level representation is a thematic/semantic representation that specifies the verb and its arguments. Schwartz

Address correspondence to: Janet Webster, Speech and Language Sciences, University of Newcastle, King George VI Building, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 7RU, UK. Email: janet.webster@ncl.ac.uk # 2004 Psychology Press Ltd http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/pp/02687038.html DOI:10.1080/02687030344000481

Chiat. Grammatical class information is also considered to be part of this lexical semantic information (Levelt. DESCRIPTION OF DEFICITS SEEN IN APHASIA Recent studies have investigated the processing of thematic structure. it involves the association of the functional-level representation and the syntactic frame created at the subsequent positional-level representation. and the omission of obligatory verb arguments. utterances with an undetermined thematic structure.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 The semantic representations of the main lexical items (content words) are retrieved. The semantic representations of the main lexical items are assigned to thematic roles within the PAS. The association of sentence meaning and sentence form has been described as ``mapping'' (Saffran. The PAS specifies the number of arguments and the thematic roles that those arguments fulfil. Caramazza and Hillis (1989) suggested that if sub-processes exist in the creation of a particular level of representation. The involvement of these processes in the production of thematic structure has not been experimentally determined and was not supported by the speech error data used in the conception of Garrett's original model. Schwartz. Deficits in the production of thematic structure resulted in a reliance on simple argument structures. Webster. 1980. 1989).48 WEBSTER. and Howard (2001) investigated the production of thematic structure in a group of people with aphasia using sentences produced within a story narrative. The comprehensive assessment of individuals with aphasia provides a means of assessing whether these subprocesses exist. The following section will describe some of the patterns of performance described. This process has been called thematic role assignment. With reference to verbs. no studies have explicitly attempted a differential diagnosis between impairments to each of the sub-processes. The predicate argument structure (PAS) of the verb is created. & Marin. Marshall. Levelt (1992) suggested that semantic representations consist of a set of conceptual conditions. Difficulties in creating the predicate argument structure of the verb. However. and Pring . 1980). Impaired thematic role assignment. it does not specify word order or details about the phrasal environments in which the lexical items occur. In addition. representations are retrieved if the requirements of the message match those conditions. Franklin. FRANKLIN. & Marin. Other studies have presented data showing the deficits associated with damage to one of the above sub-processes. an apparent problem in specifying thematic structure may result from difficulty in the mapping between the semantic and syntactic forms of the sentence. Saffran. In sentence production. difficulties in the production of thematic structure may have a number of different origins: (1) (2) (3) Difficulties in retrieving the semantic representations of the content words within the sentence. then these subprocesses should have the potential to be differentially impaired. The functional representation thus specifies the major lexical content of the sentence and the meaning relations between items. HOWARD (1987) suggested that three discrete sub-processes might be involved in the production of the functional level representation: (1) (2) (3) Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . If they do. Schwartz.

with the nouns in the correct order even if the verb is omitted (Fink. they never specify obligatory information and can occur alongside any verb. For example. & Weintraub. semantic deficits result in semantic paraphasias in single word and sentence contexts. and the number of different PAS arrangements. For example. 1997a. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between arguments and non-arguments within a sentence. ``bake'' can be used in a one-argument ``she is baking'' or a two-argument ``the boy is baking biscuits'' structure. & Myers. Haendiges. ``admire'' can only be used in a two-argument structure ``the woman admired the painting''. Clients with phonological impairments are generally able to produce a sentence. the participants within the situation. Marshall (1995) suggests the semantic representation also contains semantic selection restrictions that constrain the lexical items that can fulfil particular arguments. 2003). whereas Byng and Black (1989) suggested that non-arguments were easier for some people with aphasia to produce. In comprehension. manner. Shapiro and Levine (1990) reported increased retention of verb arguments. for the verb ``to eat''. verb deficits may also result in a reliance on single phrases with limited use of sentence structure. still be omitted if the words constituting those arguments cannot be accessed.e. In addition. Verbs differ in terms of their PAS. sentences often contain non-arguments. Schwartz. this would not affect comprehension and should have a reduced impact on sentence production. or place. Argument status has been shown to influence processing. 1997b). Mitchum. As stated previously. Obler. Alongside this core meaning. 1991). the PAS specifies the number and type of arguments associated with a verb. For example. although results are currently mixed regarding whether arguments or non-arguments are preferentially processed. they give additional information about the verb. Nonarguments are not specified by the verb. the thematic roles specified by those arguments. Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . and the Agent must be animate. i. Garrett's model gives no account of the production of non-arguments. and the perspective of the speaker (Black & Chiat. the production of the functional-level representation revolves only around the PAS. Impairments in the production of nouns and verbs may also be due to a deficit in their phonological production (Caramazza & Hillis. If specific nouns cannot be retrieved within the sentence frame. people therefore choose distractors that are semantically related to the target word (Berndt.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 . or the production of light verbs (Berndt. Other verbs have variable (optional) argument structures. Hyde. they can be used in more than one PAS arrangement. Obligatory arguments may. semantic impairments will affect both modalities. & Sandson. and ``have'') that resemble auxiliaries. Mitchum. Light verbs are highfrequency verbs with low semantic content (like ``do''. they can only be used in a particular argument structure. In production. 1980) or obligatory arguments may be omitted as the words cannot be produced. they differ in the number of arguments. i.. Breedin & Martin. By definition.e. & Sandson.. Haendiges. Some verbs have obligatory (fixed) argument structures. the lexical item fulfilling the thematic role of Patient must be edible. Semantic deficits affect both single word and sentence processing and as semantic information is considered central to both production and comprehension. On testing. the omission of the verb.PRODUCTION OF THEMATIC STRUCTURE 49 (1997) describe these conceptual conditions as the core meaning of the verb. however. Green. semantic deficits result in the confusion of items closely related in meaning. 1992). In addition to the production of the PAS. Martin. Non-arguments typically give information about time. there may be an excessive reliance on pronouns (Gleason. ``get''. It is difficult to obtain information about the number and type of PAS arrangements associated with a particular verb. Goodglass. Saffran. 1996).

``the boy pushes the girl''. particularly those requiring sentential complements. the addition of inappropriate arguments. and Shapiro (1997) investigated the production of PAS by subjects with aphasia during conversational tasks.. the person with aphasia must generate the idea themselves and that is the only cue to the argument structure. ``the man drives the car''.50 WEBSTER.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 . It is difficult to assess access to PAS information and the construction of the argument structure without relying on lexical selection. or the production of arguments fulfilling inappropriate thematic roles. Schneider. As a consequence. such information is not available as the items can fulfil more than one Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . Therapy targeting comprehension resulted in significant gains in sentence production. They concluded that compared with normal subjects. If the creation of the PAS relies only on lexically specified information then sentence production difficulty will be related to the verbs used and should not be influenced by the task. therapy focused on improving meta-linguistic awareness and it is difficult to determine whether it was this that resulted in the generalisation from comprehension to production. In the production of reversible sentences. Berndt et al. Systematic investigation of PAS production in more constrained tasks is more limited. it has been proposed that semantic verb deficits have a more disruptive effect on sentence production than phonological verb deficits (Berndt et al. or the central nature of PAS information. as suggested by Schwartz. Subjects were unable to produce all of the argument structure arrangements associated with a verb. However. then task presentation may also affect performance. Levelt (1989) suggests that PAS information is part of the verb's semantic representation.. In both cases. 2001). Thematic role assignment associates lexical items with thematic roles specified in the PAS. HOWARD Thompson.. the picture depicts the participants in the event and this may provide a clue to the number of arguments within the sentence (thus supporting sentence production to a much greater extent). e. This process places items in the form of ``who is doing what to whom/what'' (Whitworth. If the creation of the PAS is influenced by the conceptual representation. Lange. thematic role assignment. realworld knowledge and semantic selection restrictions govern the thematic roles that ``man'' and ``car'' must fulfil. giving the verb may not result in more accurate sentence production. If lexically specified information is used alongside conceptual information in the creation of the PAS. In constrained picture tasks. in terms of fewer PAS arrangements and fewer arguments. problems with the PAS may result in a limited use of sentence structure. 1997a). In spontaneous speech and when given only the verb. the omission of obligatory arguments.g. task constraints may influence performance. as the person with aphasia no longer has access to the number and type of arguments that are needed alongside the verb. subjects with aphasia produced verbs with simple argument structures. and the subsequent mapping onto syntactic structure. (1997b) thus suggest that giving the verb in spoken and written form (giving the verb's semantic representation) should provide access to PAS information and facilitate more accurate sentence production. In addition. In non-reversible sentences. problems in sentence production would be accompanied by comprehension difficulties. The predicted impact of PAS difficulties depends on whether the creation of the PAS relies only on lexically specified information or is a distinct process that also uses information from the conceptual representation. As semantic representations are considered central to comprehension and production. The central nature of PAS information has been suggested by the results of a therapy study targeting access to PAS information (Webster & Whitworth. If the production of PAS is a distinct process.g. FRANKLIN. dissociations may be seen between access to a verb's semantic representation and the creation of the argument structure. 1994). e.

1996. for example. Saffran et al. Reverse role errors in production are mirrored in the selection of reverse role distractors in sentence comprehension. 1998). 1994). however. Saffran. Schwartz et al. (1997) showed retained access to semantic information despite impaired thematic role assignment. described by Marshall et al. e. Mapping determines how the thematic roles are realised within syntactic structure. mapping deficits are reported to result in difficulties with reversible sentences (Schwartz et al.. Fink. showed a double dissociation between access to semantic information and thematic role information. Thematic role assignment also becomes more complex as the number of arguments within the sentence increases. it has been proposed that thematic role assignment and mapping are central processes involved in sentence comprehension and production. 1986. There is also significant evidence that sentence production improves as a consequence of therapy targeted at improving thematic role assignment and mapping in comprehension (for example. Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . & Pate. In this way. Byng. & Chiat. If discrete deficits were identified. e. Within the current literature. however. 1980. However. For some sentences.g. Byng (1988) suggested that mapping difficulties also result in verb comprehension deficits for reverse role verbs. 1980). 1986. the mapping process is more complex as the sentences have non-canonical word order (Schwartz. the processes responsible for the production of thematic structure were investigated in order to see whether discrete deficits could be identified. Deficits in thematic role assignment are thus seen most clearly in the production of reversible sentences.g.. As with thematic role assignment. The systematic assessment of subjects with aphasia has shown selective deficits in some aspects of performance. no studies have attempted to investigate the independence of the processing of the predicate argument structure. described by Breedin and Martin (1996). mapping is transparent as the sentences have canonical word order.. the distinction between thematic role assignment and mapping is not clearcut. testing has not been specific enough to distinguish deficits. verbs that differ in the way they map their thematic roles onto syntax.PRODUCTION OF THEMATIC STRUCTURE 51 role. with the production of reverse role errors. in an active sentence. Whitworth... 1980). In other sentences. Studies have also shown selective deficits in access to syntactic sub-categorisation information (Breedin & Martin. Marshall. the thematic role of Agent becomes the subject of the sentence. the same functional-level representation can be translated into sentences with different surface forms. and therapy has often targeted both processes. Jones.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 AIMS OF STUDY This study compared the performance of four people with aphasia who had difficulties producing the thematic structure of sentences. Thematic role assignment precedes the specification of word order. passives. Pring. 1987). resulting in parallel deficits (Jones. Within the studies. 1988). difficult to assess thematic role assignment without relying on the subsequent mapping of this thematic form onto syntactic form. Linebarger. 1995. Similarly. They were assessed on tests of single word and sentence production and comprehension. e. for the target sentence ``the boy is pushing the girl''. subject PB. Thematic role assignment deficits thus also result in the omission of arguments in sentences with an increased number of obligatory arguments (Schwartz. this would provide some support for the sub-processes proposed by Schwartz (1987). . ``buy'' and ``sell''.. & Saffran. Subjects LK and JS. ``the girl is pushing the boy'' is produced. It is.g. Terms are often used interchangeably.

GW produced a higher percentage of utterances where obligatory arguments had been omitted. JM.67 7. . these are described in Table 1.3* 0 8.08 0±16 0±1.75 41.8 years). Table 2 compares the results on these parameters for GW.54 12. and TJ produced an increased proportion of utterances with an undetermined thematic structure (single words and phrases containing no verb) and a reduced proportion of complex three argument structures. KD. HOWARD METHOD Subjects Four people with aphasia participated in this study. KD.50 3. 1999).82 0 8. syntactic. They were selected from an analysis of their sentence production during narrative speech (Webster.56 0±8.7* 0* 0 0 * Indicates outside normal range (2 s.52 WEBSTER.82* JM 2. 2001). KD. The people with aphasia were considered to differ from the normal group on each parameter if their score fell outside two standard deviations of the normal mean. A comprehensive analysis of their production of thematic.47* 2.26 41. They all had a lower mean thematic complexity score than the normal group. and phrasal structure was carried out.91±22.35 14.02 20.28 6.) 2.15 2. the performance of the people with aphasia was compared to a group of 20 normal controls (mean age 54.33 0.83 58. GW. The mean thematic complexity score was a weighted mean which reflected the range and complexity of the argument structures produced (see Webster et al.56* 12. Within this study.37±74. JM.5* 21. FRANKLIN.94 8.15* 10. KD. GW.15 Normal range (2 s. from the mean of the normal group). TABLE 1 Client details Subject GW JM KD TJ Sex M F M M Age when first tested 41 62 49 57 Time post-onset when first tested 8 years 18 months 6 months 2 years Previous occupation Aerial rigger Psychiatric sister Shipyard worker University lecturer Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution .00* 46. and TJ differed significantly from the normal control group on measures related to the production of thematic structure..d. and TJ were aphasic following a single left hemisphere CVA. They were at least 6 months post-onset at the time of testing and had sufficiently good functional comprehension to understand task instructions. and TJ with those of the normal group. JM's aphasia resulted from surgery to clip a left middle cerebral artery aneurysm.d.45 2.71 52.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 TABLE 2 Production of thematic structure Normal mean score Mean thematic complexity % Undetermined thematic structure % 1 argument % 2 argument % 3 argument % Thematic embedding % Omission of obligatory arguments 3.17* 91.03 0. None of the people with aphasia produced complex utterances with thematic embedding.03* 0 0 TJ 1.88 62.74±3.13* 0 0 KD 2. JM.48±33.09 GW 2.

. and mapping in sentence production were assessed by contrasting production of one-. . 15 verbs with optional one. (iii) Group 3. instruct. No picture stimuli were given.g. admire. and grammaticality judgement tasks in order to investigate the relationship between comprehension and production. sunbathe. and three-argument structures.g. and tasks specifically designed for this study. e. A short video clip of an action or object was shown and people were asked to describe what was happening (verbs) or what it was (nouns). e.and three-argument structures. write.g. in press). The subjects were asked to produce a sentence containing the ``action word'' in any form. 15 verbs with an obligatory one-argument structure. A total of 74 verbs were divided into five groups depending on the argument structures associated with the verb. The video contrasted three types of verb: reverse role verbs. 15 verbs with optional one-. 14 verbs with optional two. Video depictions of the target verb and an unrelated or related distractor were presented on a split screen and participants were asked to match a spoken word to the corresponding depiction. die. bake. The Verb and Noun (VAN) Test (Webster & Bird. performance on systematically varied tasks was contrasted. subjects were given a verb and asked to produce a sentence. Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . teach. they had no history of brain damage and showed no signs of dementia. e. 1996) and without picture stimuli in a sentence generation task. Tests of single word and sentence production were accompanied by comprehension. enjoy. 2000) was used to compare noun and verb retrieval. Due to the difficulty of assessing processes independently of one another (this will be considered further in the discussion).g. reverse action verbs. Swinburn. Whitworth. normal control subjects were recruited from a group of volunteers aged from 49 to 85. The comprehension of nouns was assessed using the spoken and written word to picture matching sections of the Comprehensive Aphasia Test (CAT. The stem form of the verbs were presented randomly in written form and read aloud by the researcher. In both cases. two-. thematic role assignment. marry. Within this study. Access to PAS information. (iv) Group 4. & Howard.g. For these tasks. unpublished tests.. for example ``buy'' and ``sell''. Verb comprehension was investigated using the verb comprehension video described in Byng (1988). and three-argument structures with picture stimuli in Thematic Roles in Production (TRIP.. blame. e. for example ``fall'' and ``rise''. (v) Group 5. Not all of the normal control subjects did all of the assessment tasks.and two-argument structures. Porter. (ii) Group 2. and reverse direction verbs.PRODUCTION OF THEMATIC STRUCTURE 53 Procedure The people with aphasia were tested on a battery of published tests. The five groups were: (i) Group 1.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 Description of assessments used Access to semantic information for nouns and verbs was assessed using single word retrieval and comprehension tasks. In the sentence generation task.. Performance of the people with aphasia was compared to that of a group of 17 normal control subjects (aged 49±69). two-. people were asked to respond using one word. 15 verbs with an obligatory two-argument structure. anagram. for example ``throw'' and ``catch''. deficits in thematic role assignment and mapping were not distinguished due to the difficulty of eliciting sentences with non-canonical word order. e..

The anagram task assessed the ability to assign TABLE 3 Mean frequency and length of verb types Verb Type Mean frequency Mean length syllables Mean length phonemes Obligatory 1 argument 1. The 45 verbs from groups one. HOWARD Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . 1995) and confirmed using the dictionary. In a separate task. The normal control group in the original study scored 95±100% on all measures.90%. two. the percentage of sentences with an inappropriate argument structure (due to the omission of arguments or the presence of an inappropriate argument) was calculated.77) 1. and four from the sentence generation task were then also used in an anagram task.1%). Due to the difficulty in finding verbs.72) 4.12 (0. range 0±4.40 (2. range 21. Three scores were calculated for each of the people with aphasia and compared to the results of a group of 22 normal subjects (aged 24±71). particular difficulties with a group of verbs was noted.73) Optional 1 and 2 argument 1. & Gulikers. The assessment is a delayed repetition task so all of the stimuli were modelled prior to the person with aphasia being given the picture and asked to describe what was happening.76 (0. The TRIP assessment contrasted the retrieval of high-frequency nouns in isolation and in one-. FRANKLIN. Normal subjects produced a high percentage of sentences with co-occurring non-arguments (mean 35.33 (1. the greater frequency of use and the shorter the word.67 (0.46) 1. the people with aphasia were presented with the TRIP sentence pictures and asked to order the sentence components in an anagram task. Second.60 (1.9±52. Following an analysis of all the verbs. the percentage of sentences containing non-arguments was calculated.27 (0. Piepenbrock.64) 5. Finally.9 sentences containing the target as verb. First. Verbs that produced no response or sentences that did not contain the target as a verb were excluded from the rest of the analysis. and three-argument structures. Normal subjects produced a very low percentage of sentences with an inappropriate PAS (mean 0. The mean frequency of the verbs in each group and their mean length in syllables and phonemes are shown in Table 3. and 3 argument 2.27 (0.00) Obligatory 2 argument 1. Non-arguments were normally produced alongside optional and obligatory one.76) 1. Standard deviations in brackets.1%).46) 3.98) 5.24) Frequency of the lemma in log frequency per million. 2. The groups of verbs varied quite significantly in mean frequency and length. the number of sentences containing the target word as a verb (Target as Verb) was calculated.23) Optional 2 and 3 argument 1.72) 2. this seemed to reflect the fact that the more possible verb argument arrangements.60 (0. .13 (1.13 (0. Sentences were scored for the retrieval of nouns and verbs and the thematic completeness of the sentence. Phrases that formed appropriate arguments were presented alongside distractor phrases and the people with aphasia were asked to produce an appropriate sentence using some or all of the phrases. Normal subjects produced an average of 72.59) 5.8. two-.54 WEBSTER.93 (0. groups of verbs were not matched for frequency or length.33 (0. This was the percentage of sentences with an appropriate argument structure that also contained non-arguments.91) Optional 1.55) 2.and two-argument structures.33 (1.27 (0.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 The verb classifications used were taken from the syntactic classifications found in the Celex database (Baayen.

PRODUCTION OF THEMATIC STRUCTURE 55 Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . In addition to the sentence production and comprehension tasks. The results for the four people with aphasia can be seen in Tables 5 to 8. the people with aphasia were presented with the picture and asked to describe what was happening. the target. subjects heard each sentence and had to decide whether it was a good (grammatically correct) or bad (not grammatically correct) sentence. Nickels. and a reverse role distractor. The assignment of thematic roles and mapping in comprehension was investigated using an unpublished test of reversible sentence comprehension described in Black. RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION This section will describe the performance of each individual on the battery of assessments and will then compare their performance. The ability of the people with aphasia to identify the anomalies was compared to the performance of a group of 18 normal control subjects (age range 61±76). Seven types of reversible sentence were used: active agentive. T tests were used to determine whether the performance of GW. the possible manifestations of difficulties in the production of thematic structure were discussed. ``the girl shows the letter to the boy'' structures. e. The tasks used the same 45 verbs used in the sentence generation anagram task. Table 4 shows the predicted patterns of performance resulting from specific difficulties in retrieving semantic information.. Table 5 compares the results of the people with aphasia with the performance of the normal control subjects on tests of single word production and comprehension.g.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 thematic roles and map them onto syntactic structure whilst excluding the impact of word retrieval difficulties. deverbal adjectival.. passive agentive. To investigate thematic role assignment and mapping. and difficulties with either thematic role assignment and/or mapping. JM. and ``they collected the man the stamps''. The ability of the people with aphasia to identify PAS anomalies was compared to the performance of a group of 14 normal control subjects (age range 64±76). two-argument. For the first task investigating semantic and mapping anomalies. (b) Thematic role assignment or mapping anomaliesÐarguments fulfilling inappropriate thematic roles. ``he vanished the man''. Subjects were asked to match a verbal sentence with one of three pictures.. ``the man pushes the horse''..g. Table 7 shows performance on tests of reversible sentence production and comprehension. adjectival. and 10. the production of reversible two. e.g. Table 6 presents the results of the sentence generation task. and locative.g.and three-argument structures to picture stimuli was tested. and TJ differed . This test consisted of 20. and Byng (1991). In a free production condition. In a subsequent session. e. In the second task investigating PAS anomalies. e.. subjects heard the sentence and had to decide whether it was a good (made sense) or bad (did not make sense) sentence. a lexical distractor. two auditory grammaticality judgement tasks were used to assess the subjects' ability to identify three sorts of sentence anomaly: (a) Semantically inappropriate argumentsÐarguments not adhering to semantic selection restrictions. and Table 8 presents the results of the grammaticality judgement tasks. e. ``the bucket is baking''. ``the bone fetched the dog''.g. the test was presented in a lexical condition where the main lexical items (the verb and nouns) were given in verbal and written form prior to the description of the picture. active nonagentive. and (c) Predicate argument structure anomaliesÐverbs presented in an inappropriate PAS arrangement. Predicted patterns of performance Within the introduction. passive non-agentive. ``she announced''. three-argument. KD. difficulties creating the PAS.

Verb deficits may be bypassed due to provision of verb.001. His comprehension of nouns on . FRANKLIN. Comprehension of reversible sentences 8. t(16) = 5. Reverse role errors present Selection of reverse role distractors 7.56 WEBSTER. ``hands'' for ``holding''. Chi-square tests were used to look at each individual's performance across conditions within a single assessment. and was characterised by the production of a noun semantically related to the target verb. Difficulty with reversible sentences 6. Results for GW GW's single word retrieval was characterised by retained access to nouns but impaired access to verbs. HOWARD TABLE 4 Predicted patterns of performance Test 1. No impairment in anagram version Verb deficits may be evident. Reduced problems when given the lexical items Retained Omission of arguments in more complex argument structures. Verb and noun test 2. e. Sentence generation task 5. His verb retrieval (37/54) differed significantly from normal subjects. Reliance on simple argument structures. Following a description of results for each person.13. a brief interpretation of their difficulties will be given. p < . Thematic roles in production Omission of arguments in more complex argument structures. Remains difficult with anagrams Difficulty with more complex argument structures Thematic role assignment and/or mapping deficit Retained Retained Possible difficulty with reverse role verbs Omission of arguments in complex argument structures 3. Verb video 4.g. CAT comprehension Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . Grammaticality judgement a) Semantic anomalies b) Mapping anomalies c) PAS anomalies Accepts semantic anomalies Able to reject mapping anomalies Able to reject PAS anomalies Able to reject semantic anomalies Able to reject mapping anomalies Accepts PAS anomalies Able to reject semantic anomalies Accepts mapping anomalies Able to reject PAS anomalies from that of the group of normal controls.. Production of reversible sentences Difficulty with more complex argument structures. Difficulty with more complex argument structures. Effect of noun retrieval deficits minimised by stimuli. No impairment in anagram version Noun and verb deficits may be evident in free production but no impairment when given lexical items Selection of lexical distractors PAS deficit Retained Retained Retained Inappropriate PAS structures.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 Semantic deficit Impaired retrieval of verbs and/or nouns Selection of semantic distractors Selection of semantic distractors Noun deficits may result in the omission of arguments.

1 21.2 27.TABLE 5 Results of individual clients on tests of single word production and comprehension Test Verb and Noun Test (VAN): Nouns Verb and Noun Test (VAN): Verbs Comprehensive Aphasia Test (CAT): Spoken word to picture match Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . TABLE 6 Results of individual clients on the sentence generation task Test Sentence generation task Target as verb % Inappropriate PAS % Non-arguments Sentence generation anagram task N 74 45 Normal mean 72.1 29.6* 12.7 113.9±52.14* 45 TJ 64* 10.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 N 54 54 30 30 46 Normal mean 53 50 29.6* 7. TABLE 7 Results of individual clients on tests of reversible sentence production and comprehension Test Production of reversible sentences Free production: 2-argument Lexical items given: 2-argument Free production: 3-argument Lexical items given: 3-argument Test of reversible sentence comprehension n 20 20 10 10 70 GW 14 13 6 10 42 JM 19 20 10 10 63 KD 15 16 10 10 57 TJ Not tested 18 Not tested 10 60 TABLE 8 Results of individual clients on grammaticality judgement tests Test Identification of semantic anomalies Identification of mapping anomalies Identification of PAS anomalies N 62 28 120 Normal mean 59.5 33. 57 .6 na Norman range 49±53 44±53 25±30 27±30 na GW 53 37* 28 29 42 JM 53 40* 30 30 45 KD 46* 34* 30 30 44 TJ 45* 31* 30 28 39 Comprehensive Aphasia Test (CAT): Written word to picture match Verb comprehension video * Indicates performance significantly different from normal control subjects.3* 45 59* 72 18.3 44.4 Normal range 57±62 26±28 108±117 GW 54* 22* 93* JM 55* 28 100* KD 59 27 111 TJ 61 27 110 * Indicates performance significantly different from normal control subjects. na = Data not available.1 na GW JM KD 56* 19.81 na Normal range 70±74 0±4.9* 12.4 24 4 * Indicates performance significantly different from normal control subjects.90 35. na = Data not available.91 0.

``build the bridge''.58 WEBSTER. Figure 1. He produced a range of one.4%) of utterances containing arguments that were semantically inappropriate. GW found it difficult to produce complete and appropriate sentences in both the sentence generation task and TRIP. Figure 1 shows GW's performance on TRIP. GW differed significantly from the normal group in his ability to produce the target as a verb in a sentence. HOWARD Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution .g. When questioned about the sentence and given an opportunity to change it.and two-argument structures and produced a similar percentage of utterances with non-arguments as the normal group. p < . FRANKLIN. He exhibited a significantly different pattern of noun retrieval in isolation and in one-. In the production of obligatory twoargument structures.001. GW's performance on TRIP.27. he was always convinced the sentence he had produced was appropriate. and three-argument structures. He also produced a high percentage of sentences with an inappropriate PAS.3% were internal arguments. One of the obligatory one-argument verbs was produced with an additional argument. the internal (patient) argument was sometimes omitted.g. On the sentence generation task.. e. When given possible arguments of the verb in the anagram task.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 the CAT was within normal limits but he made some errors in the comprehension of verbs (scoring 42/46 on the verb video). t(21) = 12. 72..2% were external and 27. ``he vanished the man''. GW seemed unaware that the sentences he produced were not appropriate. predominantly omitting external (agent) arguments in two.. two-. e.g. ``he preached me''. e. ``we wish to announce''. GW found it difficult to select appropriate arguments to form a grammatical sentence (24/45 on first attempt). . Of the arguments omitted. GW also produced a high percentage (10.and three-argument structures.

this resulted in reduced thematic completeness scores. His verb retrieval in sentences was also characterised by semantic paraphasias. p < ..1.. passive. ``girl''. The semantic paraphasias all involved the production of ``man''. GW experienced difficulty in producing the right arguments for verbs. His verb retrieval difficulties were evident in single word and sentence contexts. She did not have any difficulties with the com- . and ``woman''. GW's production of reversible sentences in the free production condition resembled his performance on TRIP. Interpretation. He had difficulties with reversible sentences in both production and comprehension and failed to reject mapping anomalies.001.002). He also made one reverse role error in the TRIP anagram task. This may indicate a central semantic impairment. In each case.g. therefore. He produced two reverse role errors for two of the two-argument structures. both in terms of the number of arguments and their appropriateness. GW scored 42/70 on the reversible sentence comprehension test.g. p = .027. his impaired performance was a consequence of an increased number of false positive responses (acceptance of a sentence with an anomaly as correct). He made no errors in the production of three-argument structures. His reverse role errors were always attempts at passive sentences. GW also seems to have a deficit in either thematic role assignment and/or mapping.44. The omission of obligatory arguments in sentence production and his reliance on simple argument structures is likely to reflect this combination of PAS and thematic role assignment difficulties. The omission of arguments occurred in both two. However. e.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 w2 (3) = 9. When given the lexical items. but showed no difficulty with nouns. GW was impaired in his ability to retrieve verbs and understand them. t(17) = 9.28. His word retrieval difficulties in sentences are.003.001.PRODUCTION OF THEMATIC STRUCTURE 59 Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . p < . PAS anomalies.001. selecting a higher proportion of reverse role compared to lexical distractors (Binomial test. A deficit in accessing PAS information is suggested by his performance on the PAS anagram and grammaticality judgement tasks. like GW. ``the boy is throwing to the girl'' instead of ``the boy is throwing the ball to the girl''.and three-argument structures. She produced a combination of semantic and phonemic paraphasias. He made reverse role errors on active. He showed good retrieval of nouns in isolation but omitted words and produced semantic paraphasias in sentences. GW omitted arguments and produced sentences with a simplified argument structure (generally two-argument structures instead of three-argument structures). ``the horse is pushed by the man'' instead of the ``horse is pushing the man''. t(13) = 7. p = . The majority of his errors involved the omission of obligatory arguments.05. ``boy''. p = . t(16) = 3. His difficulties in rejecting semantic anomalies in the grammaticality judgement tasks may also reflect these semantic difficulties. p = . GW did not have access to knowledge about what arguments were required alongside a verb. GW differed from the normal controls on all of the grammaticality judgement tasks: semantic anomalies. e. GW thus has difficulties with all three of the sub-processes involved in the production of thematic structure. his omission of arguments was eliminated but he continued to produce reverse role errors in the production of two-argument structures. and locative sentences. GW did not have difficulty with noun retrieval in single word tasks. he produced reverse role errors and omitted obligatory arguments. Results for JM JM. differed significantly from the normal group in her retrieval of verbs. t(17) = 3.97. likely to be due to PAS and/or thematic role assignment difficulties. mapping anomalies.

she was able to produce the target as a verb in a sentence but produced 12. selecting a mixture of reverse role and lexical distractors across sentence types. e. and three-argument structures and produced a similar percentage of non-arguments as the normal subjects. ``the boy swimming the sea'' instead of ``the boy is swimming''. JM scored 63/70 on the reversible sentence comprehension test. She could not reject the distractor arguments and despite prompting tried to produce a sentence containing all of the components. She made no errors on the anagram version of TRIP.. JM occasionally omitted both internal and external arguments in two-argument structures but the majority of her errors were the production of an additional inappropriate phrase with obligatory one-argument verbs. ``the baby is crawling the floor''. she made only one error. selecting appropriate arguments to produce a sentence on only four occasions.g. she was able to identify mapping anomalies but differed from normal controls Figure 2. Figure 2 shows JM's performance on TRIP. She successfully retrieved the nouns in isolation and in sentences. HOWARD Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . In the sentence generation task. On the grammaticality judgement tasks. . two-. FRANKLIN. ``we disagree the fish tank''. inappropriate arguments for two of the oneargument structures. abandoning the sentence due to verb retrieval difficulties.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 prehension of nouns on the CAT and made only one error on the verb video. She produced semantic paraphasias for some of the target verbs in sentences. She produced a range of one-.. JM's performance on TRIP.60 WEBSTER. JM performed poorly on the anagram task. She generally produced thematically complete and appropriate sentences. In the production of reversible sentences. although she produced additional. e.5% of sentences with an inappropriate argument structure.g.

w2 (1) = 8.25.62. e. a significant difference between the two word classes. JM's difficulties in sentence production were not as severe as the other individuals with aphasia. however. p < .3% were external arguments. p = .001. In his retrieval of verbs. reflect problems accessing phonological information. His errors in noun retrieval were a mixture of semantic and phonemic paraphasias. he differed significantly from the normal control group in his ability to use the target as a verb.7% were internal arguments and 33. KD had difficulty retrieving nouns and verbs within sentences.29.g. t(16) = 6. p < . JM was impaired in her retrieval of verbs but her single word comprehension of both nouns and verbs was intact. PAS anomalies. ``parcel'' for ``deliver''. with an additional deficit retrieving verbs that may reflect a difficulty accessing phonology. t(17) = 2. this may reflect a failure to produce a preposition in the non-argument. He understood the nouns on the CAT without error and made only two errors on the verb video. her difficulties in accessing PAS information were more widespread across verb types.91.001.PRODUCTION OF THEMATIC STRUCTURE 61 in her ability to identify semantic and PAS anomalies: semantic anomalies. In the sentence generation task.78. Within the sentence production tasks. resulting in the omission and addition of arguments. Of the arguments omitted. nouns. JM thus has a difficulty accessing PAS information when producing the thematic structure of a sentence. There was.and three-argument verbs. therefore. seem to account for the omission of obligatory arguments in the sentence generation task. t(21) = 14.93. Her verb retrieval difficulties may. Like GW. it may reflect a strategy of resorting to the two-argument form when PAS information was difficult to access.001. It may be that JM's failure to reject semantic anomalies also reflects a difficulty in accessing PAS information. This would indicate that the processes of thematic role assignment and mapping remain intact. Her impaired performance was a consequence of an increased number of false positive responses. she seems have reduced access to PAS information. ``syringe'' for ``inject''. with verb retrieval more impaired than noun retrieval. 66. t(3) = 4. JM did not have a significant noun retrieval deficit in single word tasks. p = . KD differed significantly from normal control subjects: verbs.013. In terms of the apparent addition of arguments. JM showed that she was capable of producing prepositions in other non-arguments and a difficulty with prepositions would not account for her performance on the PAS grammaticality judgement task or anagram task. p < . he generally produced a semantically related noun.. Alternatively.007. However. she did have problems identifying semantic anomalies in the grammaticality judgement tasks. A high percentage of sentences had an inappropriate argument structure. Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . KD also produced arguments in which determiners were produced but the subsequent noun was not produced. p = .001. therefore.. Interpretation. t(16) = 4. e. ``the baby is crawling the floor'' is produced instead of `the baby is crawling on the floor'.g. KD seemed aware that his sentences were not complete and would repeat the initial part of the . word retrieval difficulties do not.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 Results for KD In his retrieval of both nouns and verbs. due to the omission of external and internal arguments in the production of sentences with obligatory twoargument and optional two. In these tasks. The presence of a picture eliminated JM's difficulties with the omission of arguments and she did not make a significant proportion of reverse role errors in either production or comprehension. Her main difficulty was the production of an appropriate argument structure when a picture was not present.

KD's performance on the grammaticality judgement tasks was comparable to normal subjects. mapping. KD's performance on TRIP. His errors in sentences were a mixture of semantic paraphasias. . bread . omissions.g.84. . and PAS anomalies accurately. e. He selected a higher proportion of reverse role distractors compared to lexical distractors (Binomial test.0025). . These difficulties were evident in the production of two.. . the given . . he produced reverse role errors on the two-argument structures in the free production and lexical conditions. the man . ``the sheep .and two-argument structures and produced only a small percentage of utterances containing non-arguments. KD successfully retrieved the nouns in isolation but had difficulty in retrieving the nouns in sentences. KD always produced an appropriate sentence. Figure 3. KD produced only one. bread . Figure 3 shows KD's production of sentences on TRIP. . His errors were predominantly in the comprehension of passive and locative sentences.and three-argument structures. He made no errors on the three-argument structures. HOWARD Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . FRANKLIN.g. Sentences were not thematically complete due to the omission of verbs and a failure to create an argument structure.62 WEBSTER. . He also made a reverse role error in the production of a two-argument structure and four reverse role errors in the TRIP anagram task. KD showed some impairment in the comprehension of reversible sentences (score 57/70). Following multiple repetitions and apparent difficulty in retrieving an appropriate word. .. in the production of the reversible sentences. .Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 sentence. . no no I inform''. Similarly. w2 (3) = 44. ``I inform .001. . I inform . the no girl''. . he was able to identify semantic. and the use of pronouns. When given a selection of arguments in the anagram task. e. production of the nouns in isolation. p = . he would give up and accept the sentence he had produced. . . p < . .

KD's difficulty in producing an appropriate argument structure seemed to be the result of his word retrieval difficulties. p = . There was also a significant difference between one-. like KD. for ``the girl kicked the snake'' he said ``the snake is .g. . KD thus has a problem with thematic role assignment and/or mapping that is resulting in poor production of thematic structure. Similarly. p < . again suggesting intact access to PAS information. TJ produced one. he could select and order the arguments appropriately. He produced some phonemic paraphasias. some of the omitted arguments may be a consequence of thematic role assignment and/or mapping difficulties. When given possible arguments in the anagram task. His word retrieval difficulties may also account for the low percentage of utterances containing non-arguments.01. TJ's errors were predominantly the omission of external arguments with optional two. Sentences were abandoned at the point of the verb and thus some of the verb's arguments were omitted. TJ was unable to attempt the two. he presents with word retrieval difficulties that are in part due to a difficulty in accessing phonology.30. however.016. KD omitted arguments in sentences in TRIP.44. he also produced sentences in which the internal argument consisted only of a determiner.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 Interpretation.01. . p < . w2 (1) = 5. p < . He showed a significantly different pattern of noun retrieval in single word and sentence contexts. He selected semantic distractors on all three verb types. e. no''.and three-argument reversible sentences in the free . TJ's difficulty in producing nouns within sentences and producing thematically complete sentences seemed to stem from his failure to retrieve an appropriate verb. showed an impairment in both noun and verb retrieval on the VAN: verbs. he differed from the normal control subjects in his ability to use the target as a verb in a sentence.001. He did not.86. his thematic completeness score deteriorated as the complexity of the argument structure increased.and three-argument verbs.and two-argument sentences and a low proportion of sentences containing non-arguments. Figure 4 shows TJ's performance on TRIP.001. In addition. nouns t(16) = 5. In addition. TJ also showed significant difficulties in the retrieval of nouns and verbs in sentences. Like KD. e. He also produced some reverse role errors in sentence production and selected reverse role distractors in the sentence comprehension task. and in the production of sentences with an appropriate argument structure. sometimes omitting the argument and sometimes producing only a determiner and omitting the main noun. w2 (3) = 43. Nouns were retrieved more accurately than verbs. two-. t(16) = 7. however.001.86. w2 (2) = 19. p < . despite being able to retrieve the same nouns in isolation. t(21) = 7.. TJ scored within the normal range on noun comprehension in the CAT but made seven errors on the verb comprehension video. When given the lexical items in the anagram version..83. have difficulty in identifying mapping anomalies in the grammaticality judgement task. ``viewing'' for ``watching''. and three-argument structures. ``pen'' for ``pencil''.001.001. KD has word retrieval difficulties affecting both nouns and verbs but retained comprehension. He experienced no difficulty in detecting semantic or PAS anomalies in grammaticality judgement tasks. He seemed aware that the sentences he produced were not complete. Results for TJ TJ. the snake is . He had no difficulties selecting arguments to produce a sentence in the anagram version of the task.001. he made more errors as the complexity of the argument structure increased.g. TJ was able to order the words to produce the target sentence.PRODUCTION OF THEMATIC STRUCTURE 63 Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . . p < . He produced semantic paraphasias for both nouns and verbs. . p = . Within the sentence generation task. w2 (2) = 13. suggesting that a phonological impairment may be contributing to his word retrieval difficulties.

However. Interpretation. he seemed aware that arguments were necessary but was unable to produce words to realise those arguments. he was able to identify semantic.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 Figure 4. In the comprehension of reversible sentences. his word retrieval difficulties often resulted in a complete failure to produce a sentence. When given the lexical items. he was able to identify semantic anomalies in the grammaticality judgement task. When given the lexical items in an anagram task. there was no distinct pattern of errors and he was able to detect mapping anomalies in grammaticality . like KD. he did not produce reverse role errors. mapping. FRANKLIN. TJ scored 60/70. TJ's performance on TRIP. he still showed some difficulty in producing the words due to perseveration on previous items. In TRIP when he was not given the verb. and PAS anomalies. production condition. On the sentence generation task. This would indicate intact access to PAS information. Although he made a number of errors in sentence comprehension. he was able to produce an appropriate sentence and he was able to identify PAS anomalies in the grammaticality judgement task. again he had no difficulty in producing the sentence. TJ's noun retrieval difficulties seem to account for his omission of obligatory arguments in sentence production. performing within the normal range. making a combination of reverse role and lexical errors. particularly with locative sentences. TJ.64 WEBSTER. HOWARD Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . On the grammaticality judgement tasks. experienced difficulty with both noun and verb retrieval but also made errors in the comprehension of verbs. When given a selection of arguments. However. He showed particular difficulty on locative sentences.

thought to have difficulties in the production of thematic structure. suggesting an impairment in thematic role assignment and/or mapping. In none of the clients did just giving the verb result in accurate sentence production. compared to normal subjects. TJ's performance was a consequence of impaired access to semantic information. via the analysis of the patterns of performance of four individuals with aphasia.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 . There is evidence from the results of dissociations between various aspects of processing. There is thus evidence from the above studies and this study that poor production of thematic structure may be a consequence of semantic deficits. and when impaired. KD had apparently good access to PAS information but made reverse role errors in production and comprehension. despite a deficit in accessing semantic information. impaired processing of Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution . TJ's knowledge of PAS was retained (although he had difficulty realising the argument structure in spoken production). JM had poor access to PAS information but was able to assign thematic roles and map them onto syntactic structure. The identification of discrete impairments would provide evidence of sub-processes in the production of thematic structure. Despite poor access to the semantic representation of the verb. These results confirm the independence of thematic role assignment from other processes involved in the production of thematic structure as found by Breedin and Martin (1996) and Marshall et al. JM showed poor access to PAS information and impaired creation of the argument structure despite no semantic difficulties. resulting in severe word-finding difficulties. Within the performance of JM and KD. but his word retrieval difficulties are so severe that he cannot produce thematic structure. (1997). The dissociations also suggest that PAS processing is a discrete aspect of production that can be selectively impaired. JM had poor access to PAS information. The performance of the four individuals on a battery of tests was contrasted with a view to determining the nature of their underlying impairment. For two. DISCUSSION The aim of this study was to investigate the processes involved in the production of the functional-level representation. a double dissociation between the processing of PAS and thematic role assignment and/or mapping is evident. For JM and KD. GW presented with poor access to PAS information and thematic role assignment and/or mapping difficulties. The four individuals varied to the extent that other deficits were present alongside difficulties with verb retrieval. This section will discuss the performance of the four clients as well as highlighting methodological issues related to the assessments used. the origin of these difficulties was a central semantic impairment resulting in difficulties with both the comprehension and production of verbs. KD's performance seemed to result from a combination of word retrieval difficulties and impaired thematic role assignment and/or mapping. TJ shows access to PAS information and retained thematic role assignment. These results suggest that access to PAS and thematic role assignment are intact. different patterns of error. They present with different patterns of impaired and retained performance. All four individuals exhibited difficulty with verb retrieval. The performance of the four individuals suggests that different underlying impairments are responsible for their poor production of thematic structure. This would suggest that his ability to assign thematic roles and map them onto syntactic structure is intact (at least for verb predicates).PRODUCTION OF THEMATIC STRUCTURE 65 judgement. These word retrieval difficulties seem to have a semantic origin. GW and TJ. it appeared that phonological difficulties were contributing to their difficulties with verb retrieval.

The PAS difficulties seen in conversation by Thompson et al. present with difficulties identifying mapping anomalies in the grammaticality judgement task. and three-argument structures. but despite this performed within normal limits on the grammaticality judgement task. As both GW and KD had additional impairments that would result in argument omission or a reliance on simple structures. Determining the precise extent to which PAS and thematic role assignment difficulties contribute to the omission of arguments and the reliance on simple argument structures is not straightforward. In comprehension. (1997) may. The impact of JM's difficulty in accessing PAS information was minimised by the presence of a picture that presumably gave her clues about the number of arguments. however. TJ and JM. The results of this study also provide evidence for the central nature of PAS information and thematic role assignment. Marshall (1995) suggested that semantic selection restrictions are encoded within the verb's lexical semantic representation and thus would be accessed alongside the verb's core meaning. The same surface Downloaded By: [EBSCOHost EJS Content Distribution .66 WEBSTER. He also produced semantically anomalous arguments within the sentence generation task. therefore. This provides evidence for the distinct subprocesses suggested by Schwartz (1987). In addition. TJ had a verb comprehension deficit that was more severe than that of GW. discriminate them from related verbs) and the ability to identify semantic anomalies in grammaticality judgement. had no difficulties with verb comprehension but failed to reject semantic anomalies. It is difficult to determine the impact of thematic role assignment difficulties on sentence production in terms of the omission of arguments and a possible reliance on simple argument structures. we cannot be sure which impairment is responsible for the surface symptoms. JM. most of the structures elicited were simple one-. Further investigations would be necessary to confirm this association and its distinction from the core meanings of verbs. the provision of the sentence and the picture seemed to enable her to bypass her PAS impairment. KD did not. The sentence generation task and grammaticality judgement tasks within this study used the same verbs and it may be that the co-occurrence of deficits reflects particular difficulty with those verbs. present with selective difficulties. however. The impact of PAS deficits may also be minimised by the type of argument structure tested.. GW presented with difficulties with verb comprehension and the identification of semantic anomalies. Further investigations of comprehension are needed with a broad range of verbs. The results of this study suggest that difficulties in producing the thematic structure of sentences may be a consequence of different underlying impairments. not have been identified in this study. two-. This would suggest that PAS information not only specifies the number and type of arguments needed alongside the verb but also information about the lexical items that can fulfil those arguments. GW and JM's deficits in the production of PAS were associated with impaired performance on the anagram and grammaticality judgement tasks. on the other hand.e. GW and JM both have difficulties accessing PAS information and it may be that their difficulties in accessing semantic selection restriction information reflect this impairment. tasks investigating the relationship between verbs and nouns that can fulfil various thematic roles are required. HOWARD PAS or impaired thematic role assignment. GW and KD's deficits in thematic role assignment (in terms of the production of reverse role errors) were associated with an increased proportion of reverse role errors in comprehension. FRANKLIN. The current assessments did not assess the clients' abilities to use the verbs in all of their PAS forms and using sentential complements. One interesting pattern of performance observed within the study is the apparent dissociation between the ability to understand verbs (i.Superceded by 916427733] At: 14:41 20 January 2010 .

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