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On the relation between structural case, determiners, and verbs in agrammatism: A study of Hebrew and Dutch
Esther Ruigendijk & Naama Friedmann
a b a b
Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany Tel Aviv University, Israel
Available online: 03 Jul 2008
To cite this article: Esther Ruigendijk & Naama Friedmann (2008): On the relation between structural case, determiners, and verbs in agrammatism: A study of Hebrew and Dutch , Aphasiology, 22:9, 948-969 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02687030701831482
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APHASIOLOGY, 2008, 22 (9), 948–969
On the relation between structural case, determiners, and verbs in agrammatism: A study of Hebrew and Dutch
Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany
Tel Aviv University, Israel
Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012
Background: This study explored the relation between the production of determiners and case markers and the production of verbs and verb inflections in agrammatism. Determiners and case markers require case and therefore depend on the existence of case-assigning constituents. Aims: Since verbs and verb inflections are case assigners, and are impaired in agrammatism, we tested whether the presence of verbs and verb inflection affects the production of determiners and case markers in Dutch and Hebrew agrammatism. Methods & Procedures: A total of 11 Hebrew-speaking and 8 Dutch-speaking individuals with agrammatism participated in picture description and sentence elicitation tasks, and their spontaneous speech was analysed. Outcomes & Results: The production of case-related morphemes was closely connected to the presence of a case assigner in the sentence. In Hebrew, object case was produced correctly 98% of the time, and always when a transitive verb was present in the sentence. In Dutch the production of determiners on the subject was related to the presence of a finite verb. The production of complete object noun phrases related to the presence of a transitive verb. Conclusions: The results indicate that case itself, as well as determiners and case markers, which depend on case, are not impaired in agrammatic production. The apparent deficit is rather tightly related to the deficit in verbs and verb inflection. This suggests that the production of determiners and pronouns should be treated within sentence context, in which a special emphasis should be given to the production of correctly inflected verbs.
Individuals with agrammatic aphasia encounter difficulties in the production of grammatical morphemes such as determiners, case markers, and verb inflection, and often their sentences lack verbs. Recent studies show that not all grammatical morphemes are equally susceptible to impairment and that the pattern of omission
Address correspondence to: Esther Ruigendijk, Carl von Ossietzky Universitat, Fak. III, Institut fur ¨ ¨ Fremdsprachenphilologien, Ammerla nder Heerstr. 114-118, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany. ¨ E-mail: email@example.com The project on case assignment in Dutch has been carried out under auspices of the Graduate School of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences in Groningen (BCN) and the Center for Language and Cognition in Groningen (CLCG). Naama Friedmann was supported by a university grant for the encouragement of research. We are grateful to Roel Jonkers for providing the Dutch data, and to Roelien Bastiaanse and Aviah Gvion for their comments on a previous version of this paper.
# 2008 Psychology Press, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business http://www.psypress.com/aphasiology DOI: 10.1080/02687030701831482
Ruigendijk & Bastiaanse. 1981. case in agrammatism. determiners. In other languages. and case markers on the one hand. manifesting in omissions of case markers and determiners for example. 1988. and the object usually receives accusative case. specifically the relation between the production of determiners. as in the languages under discussion in this study: Hebrew and Dutch.1 Since the Government and Binding Theory (Chomsky. such as case markers. 113) is ungrammatical because my students does not receive case. 2001. 1994. Friedmann. case is invisible. the next sections present a brief linguistic background regarding case in general. it is sometimes realised morphologically while at other times it remains invisible. ‘‘What is case?’’). Agrammatic speakers omit and substitute determiners.. The impaired production of morphemes related to case. 1994. A sentence with a noun phrase that has not been assigned case is thus ungrammatical. such as Chinese. pronouns and noun phrases with determiners have something in common: both need case. In this study we explore the relations among the impaired morphemes. and case in Hebrew and Dutch in particular. 1986). van Zonneveld. The subject receives nominative case. LINGUISTIC BACKGROUND What is case? Case is a mechanism that specifies the syntactic relationship between. 1986). 1990. In some languages. It marks the function of each noun phrase in the sentence. it is assumed that every pronounced noun phrase must have (exactly one) case. and produce only a small number of pronouns in their free speech (see e. Saffran. The main question we asked in this study was whether grammatical case is impaired in agrammatism. after which we describe the experimental investigation and the results. and verbs and verb inflections on the other. Berndt.CASE IN AGRAMMATIC PRODUCTION 949 Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 and substitution is determined by linguistic constraints (De Bleser & Luzzatti. pronouns. and pronouns in agrammatism is related to a deficit in the production of verb and verb inflection. This requirement is called the case filter. Grodzinsky. Even when case is invisible. Linguistically. should actually be ascribed to a deficit in another component of syntactic ability that influences case. 1995.. like Russian and Hungarian. we examine a hypothesis that case in itself is not impaired in agrammatism. 2002. A more detailed discussion would be beyond the scope of this paper. all languages have case. case is overtly realised on nouns and pronouns.g. 1995. a verb and the subject and object. or whether what seems to be impairment in case. Ruigendijk. Menn & Obler. . 2006. & Schwartz. In order to describe the syntactic requirements for case assignment. & Bastiaanse. which assign case. it is 1 Note that we present a somewhat simplified overview of the theory on case covering only the most basic cases that are relevant for our study. p. Hagiwara. a sentence like ‘‘*I am proud my students’’ (Chomsky. Nespoulous et al. 1999). 1990. According to Chomsky (1981. 1989). a syntactic mechanism that marks syntactic roles such as subject and object in the sentence (for a detailed explanation of case see the next section. In some other languages. for example. Specifically. For example.
subjects depend on the presence of the finite inflection of a verb. are more interesting (see Ruigendijk & Bastiaanse. 2002. the subject ‘‘he’’ has nominative case. 3 But see. When we use the term case in this study. Note that although the presence of a determiner always requires case assignment to the noun phrase. Nominative case is assigned to a noun phrase in subject position by verb inflection. like German or Russian. as illustrated in the introduction. case is morphologically realised as a suffix on the noun. noun phrases without a determiner can be caseless. In this example in English. The assignment of case to the subject and the object.3 Noun phrases get their case from a case assigner. One constraint on the case filter was suggested by Ouhalla (1993). abstract case is assigned to the noun phrases. For the study of inherent case assignment. In a simple subject-verb-object sentence.2. for a study of these languages). is dependent on the structural position of these noun phrases in relation to the verb and the inflection and is therefore called structural (or syntactic) case (Chomsky. we always mean structural case. When the subject or the object do not receive case. This study thus explored these case assigners—verbs and verb inflection. b. Importantly for the current study. the case filter will be violated. As seen in (1b). whereas the object ‘‘him’’ has accusative case. for example. 2002. Verbs and verb inflection play a major part in the agrammatic deficit. When we speak about case here. Landau (2006) for an alternative analysis of case. (1) a. the modal ‘‘will’’ (or. whereas objects depend on the presence of a transitive verb. in other sentences. but it is not visible. Some indicate the preservation 2 Case can also be lexically specified. accusative is assigned by the verb to its object. The man will meet the boy. determiners are not case-marked in all languages. the case filter applies only to complete noun phrases such as nouns with a determiner and pronouns. In Russian and Standard Arabic. which is the topic of the current study. the inflection of the verb) assigns nominative case to the subject noun phrase ‘‘the man’’. Case becomes visible in English when pronouns are used. English and Dutch determiners. . and Ruigendijk. and objects will not receive case if there is no transitive verb (for objects the verb does not need to be finite). for instance. Thus. languages that show a clear distinction between inherent and structural case assignment. Subjects will not receive case if there is no finite verb. According to Ouhalla. for example. in German it is realised on the determiner. and then it is called inherent (or lexical) case.950 RUIGENDIJK AND FRIEDMANN Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 assumed to be there on an abstract level. The transitive verb ‘‘meet’’ assigns accusative case to the object ‘‘the boy’’. such as (1a). 4 Case-related morphemes can be bound or free. NOM ACC He will meet him. are not specified for case. and we surmised that the deficit in determiners and pronouns might be related to the deficit in verb production. Case in agrammatism Several empirical investigations of the production of case-related morphemes4 in agrammatism have yielded an unclear pattern of results. we refer to this syntactic notion of abstract case that is present in all languages. 1981).
Saffran et al. 1992.6 Frequent verb omissions are also explained in this framework. and Zei & Sikic. manifested in the overuse of the default form (which is nominative in the languages that were examined. 2000. they either do not move and then appear with the wrong tense inflection and in a different sentential position. Biran. If the tense is correct.. is impaired in the speech production of many agrammatic speakers. the verb is often produced either in a non-finite form rather than a finite form—as is the case in Germanic languages— and in a low node. 2002. which is associated with the high part of the tree. or they get omitted. case that is assigned (or checked) in low nodes should be intact. Jarema & Kadzielawa. Given that according to the TPH only structures that involve the high nodes are impaired in agrammatism. 2006. the derivation crashes. 2002). So when verbs have to move to pruned nodes on the syntactic tree. Friedmann. Bayer. which is assigned by the verb inflection. the verb enters the tree randomly inflected and its inflection is checked in T. 1990. Ruigendijk & Bastiaanse. when the case-assigning verb has been realised. but when the tense is incorrect. Gvion. the case usually assigned by the verb to its object. As a result. 1998. 6 Under a checking account for tense inflection. as more verbs are omitted when the verb should have been produced in a high node (Bastiaanse & van Zonneveld. 1996.. whereas structures that involve only low nodes remain intact. tense inflection of the verb.e. 2002. and of accusative case. According to the TPH. Friedmann & Grodzinsky.CASE IN AGRAMMATIC PRODUCTION 951 of the production of case-related morphemes (De Bleser. i. 1976. Specifically. & Novogrodsky. it is not expected to be impaired under the TPH assumptions. namely in sentence-final position (Bastiaanse & Jonkers. One suggestion for the description of the syntactic deficit in agrammatism is the tree-pruning hypothesis (TPH. there is an additional side to this generalisation. Friedmann. the verb can be produced with its random tense. 2001. Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 . Importantly. 2001. & Luzzatti. 1989). Those who are impaired above TP are not impaired in either tense or agreement (for a description of degrees of severity see Friedmann. 2001. ˇ ´ see Luria. because tense inflection and verbs are necessary to assign case. 1990). while others report a deficit in case-related morphemes. as in other languages such as Hebrew and Arabic (Friedmann. This was found to be closely related to the position of the verb on the syntactic tree. This results in impaired production of structures and grammatical morphemes that involve high nodes. 1998. the case of the subject. 2006). Friedmann. or it is produced in the wrong tense inflection. Individuals with agrammatism produce fewer verbs than nonbrain-damaged speakers (Luzzatti et al. 2000. 2005). If checking in T is impossible. Russian and Serbo-Croatian. 2002). 1997). the deficit of individuals with agrammatism is related to the projection of the syntactic tree up to its highest nodes. the derivation converges.. Ruigendijk & Bastiaanse.5 when the verb cannot move to high nodes to get tense inflection. In the current study we explore the possibility that the deficit in tense inflection and the omission of verbs cause a deficit in syntactic case. 2006. 2006). The aim of the current study is to assess the conditions in which case is impaired in agrammatism. we will examine the realisation of nominative case. The individuals who are impaired at the tense phrase (TP) level have tense impairment and no impairment in agreement. 5 There are different degrees of severity in agrammatism. Crucially for the current study. that is. Kolk & Heeschen. Because object case is assigned in low nodes. 2001. Friedmann & Gil.
they tended to omit determiners or produced determiners and pronouns in the default nominative case. Similar results were found for German speakers with agrammatism in spontaneous speech as well as in several production tasks (Ruigendijk. such as a (finite) verb or a preposition. Impaired production of case and case-related elements in a sentence is a by-product of an impairment in related syntactic domains. . AND SPECIFIC PREDICTIONS Hebrew In Hebrew case is visible on definite object noun phrases and on pronouns. Ruigendijk et al.(2a). c. ha-yeled xipes et ha-kadur the-child searched ACC the-ball ‘‘The child looked for the ball’’ hikarti et kol-ex recognised-1st.sg. with bound possession marking (2b). which we will examine in the present study. Only definite noun phrases can occur with the accusative marker (Berman. (1999) demonstrated that the production of determiners and pronouns in Dutch and German was related to the production of a case assigner.past ACC voice-your ‘‘I recognised your voice’’ Yakov shama et ne’um rosh ha-memshala Jacob heard ACC speech-head-the-government ‘‘Jacob heard the prime minister’s speech’’ gvina cehuba mazkira li et holand cheese yellow reminds to-me ACC Netherlands ‘‘Yellow cheese reminds me of the Netherlands’’ eifo macat et ze? where found-2nd. or as a proper name (2d). The Preserved Case Hypothesis Morphemes that depend on case and case assignment are not directly impaired in agrammatism. and also before the demonstrative pronoun ze. which appears before the object. Danon. 2006.952 RUIGENDIJK AND FRIEDMANN Given these considerations. Accusative case on objects is marked with the free morpheme et. 2001. Shlonsky.fem. Ruigendijk & Bastiaanse. 1978. we suggest the preserved case hypothesis. when no case assigner was present. as a part of a construct state nominal in which the complement of the head noun is definite (2c).sg. Individuals with agrammatism could produce determiners and pronouns in spontaneous speech when a case assigner was realised. d. (2) a. Definite noun phrases are either marked with the definite article ha.past ACC this? ‘‘Where did you find it?’’ b. Nominative case is not marked overtly. e. 2002. 1997). Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 CASE IN HEBREW AND DUTCH. as shown in the examples in (2) and (3). Recent results from Dutch and German agrammatism support this hypothesis. 2000. ‘‘this’’ (2e) (examples 2a–e are grammatical and are taken from the speech of participants in this study). 2002).
predict frequent failure in verb movement.g. ‘‘he’’ vs ‘‘him’’). Ha-yeled xipes kadur the-child searched ball b. it is assumed that their realisation depends on having case. ik vs mij. Given these properties of case assignment in Hebrew and Dutch. complete object noun phrases can appear. which must occur without a determiner (4e). an accusative case marker should appear. Notice that the tree-pruning hypothesis does not mean that individuals with agrammatism can never access high nodes. The exact expectation is thus that when there is . * Ha-yeled xipes et kadur the-child searched ACC ball Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 Dutch In Dutch as in English. Determiners are not marked for case. (3) a. for Hebrew this means that if a transitive verb is produced. and if a transitive verb is present. 1993). case is visible on pronouns only (e. ‘‘I’’ vs ‘‘me’’ or hij vs hem. which do not require a determiner (see 4c. e. the accusative marker is not allowed in Hebrew. Although Dutch determiners are not marked for case. and incorporate nouns. Ik kocht een broodje kaas I bought a roll cheese ‘‘I bought a cheese roll’’ * Ik drink graag glaasje wijn I drink gladly glass wine ‘‘I like to drink glass of wine’’ Ik vind (deze) kaas erg lekker I think (this) cheese very nice ‘‘I like (this) cheese very much’’ Ik vind (deze) broodjes kaas lekker I think (these) rolls cheese nice ‘‘I like (these) cheese rolls’’ De jongen houdt van auto rijden The boy likes car driving ‘‘The boy likes car driving’’ b. it is expected that agrammatic speakers will be able to produce case-dependent morphemes such as case markers and determiners as long as they have the proper syntactic preconditions. complete subject noun phrases can be realised. c. (4) a. it does.. All singular count nouns obligatorily take a determiner (and therefore 4a is grammatical but 4b is not). however. Therefore a sentence that contains an indefinite object is grammatical without a case marker (3a) and is ungrammatical with an accusative marker (3b). and the object is definite. According to the Preserved Case Hypothesis. only for number and gender. For Dutch this means that if a finite verb is present. except for mass nouns and plural count nouns.CASE IN AGRAMMATIC PRODUCTION 953 With indefinite objects. and according to Danon (2006) indefinite objects in Hebrew lack case altogether. and thus on the presence of a case assigner (following Ouhalla. 4d). d.
Participants MA. if the presence of a case assigner is a critical factor. In Dutch we tested the production of complete noun phrases. We expected that. reduction of sentence structure. 2001). Two more structured methods were also used to elicit transitive verbs in a sentence. Hebrew version by Soroker. 1998). and mean years of education 12 years 5 months.954 RUIGENDIJK AND FRIEDMANN Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 no case assigner there will be more omissions than when a case assigner (a verb or verb inflection) exists. Their mean age was 39 years 6 months (SD 5 17. Spontaneous speech was collected and analysed for six participants. Lesser. Crucially all of them had unimpaired production of agreement inflection. ML. If the presence of a case assigner is indeed a critical factor in the production of a complete noun phrase. relative clauses. Testing two structurally different languages like Hebrew and Dutch thus allowed us to test different aspects of our hypothesis. To assess the use of accusative markers with verbs and definite and indefinite object noun phrases. Seven individuals were asked to describe in one sentence 40 pictures that depicted a transitive verb with one . Eight of the participants also had severe impairment in tense inflection. and IE had relatively spared TP. definite objects should appear more often with than without accusative marker in the presence of a transitive verb. 1997). 1992. They produced very few. and the BAFLA battery for assessment of syntactic abilities (Friedmann. indicating that at least the lower part of the syntactic tree was available for them. Only patients who had at least two-word utterances were included in the study. we used analysis of spontaneous speech as well as elicitation of sentences. and were diagnosed with Broca’s aphasia with agrammatism by the neuropsychological batteries used in Israeli rehabilitation centres—the Hebrew versions of the WAB (Kertesz. the rest of the participants did not produce enough spontaneous speech or produced only very short utterances without objects. if any. We investigated the relationship between the presence of a nominative case-assigning finite verb and completeness of the subject noun phrase and between an accusative case assigning transitive verb and completeness of the object noun phrase. for a detailed description of their syntactic abilities). and they could not repeat sentences with verb movement to second position. In Hebrew. All participants had a lesion in the left cerebral hemisphere and were right-handed. we expect a higher rate of complete-to-incomplete noun phrases when a case assigner is present than when a case assigner is not present. 2005.1). All patients had characteristic agrammatic speech: non-fluent and short incomplete utterances. or sentential complements. They all had non-fluent aphasia. Hebrew version by Gil & Edelstein. where definite articles are not obligatory but where an overt accusative marker for definite objects exists. we tested the relationship between the presence of a transitive verb for definite objects and the accusative marker. the PALPA (Kay. EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION Case in Hebrew Participants. 1982. A total of 11 Hebrew-speaking individuals with agrammatic aphasia participated in the Hebrew part of the study. and by clinical workup. & Coltheart. omitting the verb or leaving it in a position after the subject (see Friedmann. well-formed Wh-questions. and tense inflection errors. Method.
bare subjects are interpreted as indefinite subjects. and indefinite objects appear bare. Such sentences were not included in the analysis.. The different syntactic properties of Hebrew compared to Dutch allowed us to run a different type of analysis for Hebrew—recall that Hebrew includes an overt accusative case marker. If the patients corrected themselves. This elicitation task included 100 verbs. This allowed us to directly test the appearance of an accusative case marker in the context of definite objects. and are also . thus Hebrew sentences in which both the determiner and the accusative marker are absent are perfectly grammatical. ‘‘Say a sentence with the word ‘fixed’. in which they were asked to produce a sentence with a given inflected verb (e. 20 of which were transitive verbs (and the rest were verbs that take sentential complements and intransitive verbs: unaccusatives. For the same reason. only the last attempt utterance was analysed. and whether they appeared only when a verb was present. one of the participants said Ha-tarnegolet mistareket ‘‘The chicken combs-self’’ instead of ‘‘The girl combs the chicken’’. Recall also that Hebrew does not have an indefinite article. and do not necessarily indicate omission of the accusative marker or of definiteness markers.CASE IN AGRAMMATIC PRODUCTION 955 Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 Figure 1. The elicited speech and the spontaneous speech were tape-recorded and transcribed. and were not interested in sentences in which the object was indefinite and the case marker was absent. using the reflexive instead of the target transitive verb. so this response was not included in the analysis). for the picture given in Figure 1. and unergatives. which appears before definite objects. without a determiner. An example of a picture used in the Hebrew sentence elicitation task ‘‘The girl combs the chicken’’. figure that performs an action on another (an example is given in Figure 1). and responses that did not include an object were excluded (for example. Therefore we only tested the appearance of accusative case markers with respect to definite objects. reflexives. Four of these seven individuals also participated in an additional task. Two individuals participated both in the spontaneous speech analysis and in the elicitation tests.g. et. Only sentences that included an object noun phrase were included in the analysis.’’). which were not analysed for the current study except for four cases in which the participants produced a sentence with accusative case as a response).
z 5 1. and therefore could not be used in the analysis to indicate a case problem as they do in Dutch. using Mann Whitney. Hebrew results. one of them following a long pause.001. one construct state nominal. . The data for the spontaneous speech and for the elicitation tasks were similar (the rate of correct and incorrect responses in both tasks did not differ significantly. T 5 0. A summary of the results of the Hebrew experiment is given in Table 1 (see Appendix A for individual data).05. p 5 . In only five sentences was the accusative marker erroneously used before an indefinite object noun phrase (this happened significantly less than using the accusative marker correctly before a definite object noun. The accusative marker was omitted only before six definite objects – one proper name. .001). The participants produced a total of 319 definite objects. For each definite object it was determined whether it appeared after the obligatory the accusative case marker or not. Then the question was whether these objects appeared when a verb was realised in the sentence. Finally we examined whether object noun phrases with accusative case marking were produced in the presence of a case-assigning transitive verb. Most of these definite objects (98%) were produced correctly with an accusative marker.956 RUIGENDIJK AND FRIEDMANN Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 perfectly grammatical. naturally. p .25). In one sentence the accusative marker was substituted by a preposition. TABLE 1 Hebrew: Number of definite and indefinite object noun phrases with and without accusative case marker in spontaneous speech and in elicited sentence production task Accusative + definite NP Spontaneous speech (n56) Elicited sentence production (n57) Total 94 219 313 No accusative + definite NP 2 4 6 Accusative + indefinite NP 1 4 5 . We used the non-parametric Wilcoxon Signed-Ranks Test for comparisons with an alpha level of . and four nouns with a definite article. and whether each time an accusative case marker occurs. the main question for Hebrew was whether each time a definite object occurs in the sentence it is preceded by the accusative marker. In the sentence-toverb construction task the verb was given to the participant so. The Hebrew-speaking participants presented excellent ability in their use of the accusative case marker ‘‘et’’. all 313 definite object noun phrases with an accusative marker were produced in sentences with a case assigning transitive verb. For these aims. T 5 0. Thus. In addition. it occurs before a definite object. the two other tasks—the elicitation with the pictures and the spontaneous speech analysis— were more informative with respect to the production of the verb. sentences with definite objects were collected from both spontaneous speech and the elicitation tests. p . The difference between definite objects with accusative case marker and definite objects without accusative case marker was significant. Importantly. and the statistical analysis therefore collapsed the data together for the two individuals who participated in both spontaneous speech and elicitation tasks. all sentences with an accusative case marker were analysed to test whether accusative case marker occurred only before definite objects.14.
and omission of determiners. & Willmes. relatively few pronouns. For each item it was established whether a verb was produced and which syntactic roles (subject and/or object) were realised. to pet). De Bleser. An example of the Dutch sentence production task ‘‘The man pets the dog’’. only the last attempt utterance was analysed. All patients were at least a year postonset and had been diagnosed with agrammatic Broca’s aphasia using a standard assessment battery (Dutch version of the Aachen Aphasia Test. 1998). The type of aphasia was confirmed by two aphasiologists. Their spontaneous speech included no Wh-questions or embedded sentences. The picture descriptions were taken from Jonkers (1998). . If the patients corrected themselves.CASE IN AGRAMMATIC PRODUCTION 957 Case in Dutch Participants. The patients were asked to describe in one sentence what was happening in the picture. Eight Dutch-speaking individuals with agrammatic aphasia (mean age 60 years 1 month) participated in the study. Graetz. and their speech was characterised by problems with finiteness of the verbs and/or a low number of verbs. 1992). They were right-handed and aphasic due to a single stroke in the left hemisphere. and whether they were realised as complete noun phrases. The complete noun phrases in our analysis included nouns with a determiner. The speech production of all patients was agrammatic. This task consisted of 30 pictures depicting an action representing a transitive verb (See Figure 2 for an example for a picture used for the verb aaien. mass Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 Figure 2. A picture description task was devised to elicit sentences (developed by Jonkers. The elicited speech was tape-recorded and transcribed. Procedure.
Subsequently. c. Finally. 1987).958 RUIGENDIJK AND FRIEDMANN nouns.Object without a verb: Target: De jongen aait de hond. We follow Longobardi and de Roo in our analysis and refer to their work for a technical discussion of this issue. According to Longobardi (1994) these noun phrases should still be analysed as DPs (cf. Subject with a finite verb: Target: De man maait het gras The man mows the grass Response: De man maait The man mows b. sweet dog Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 (6) For the objects we analysed whether a verb was produced in the sentence or not (6a and b).e. Response: De straat vegen The street sweep-infinitive b. Apart from the elicited sentence production data. all objects with a case-assigning verb were divided into two groups: objects with a finite verb and objects with a non-finite verb. as complete noun phrases. The boy pets the dog. Abney. These samples consisted of 175–480 7 Mass nouns and plural count nouns do not need a determiner in languages like English and Dutch. The spontaneous speech production came from the interviews that were part of the AAT and included questions like ‘‘Could you tell me how your speech problems started?’’. bare plural count nouns7 and pronouns. we analysed spontaneous speech production of each patient with respect to the production of complete and incomplete subject and object noun phrases. Response: Jongen hond. without any arguments.. we also counted how many subjects and objects were not realised and how many finite or non-finite verbs were produced in isolation. or as incomplete noun phrases— bare nouns that should have a determiner but were produced without one. Subject with a non-finite verb: Target: De man maait het gras The man mows the grass. and ‘‘Could you tell me something about your job/ family/ hobbies?’’. . lieve hond Boy dog. Response: Die kerel… dat gras aan het maaien. That fellow… that grass on the mow (5 mowing). The subject noun phrases were divided into three groups: subjects that occurred in a sentence with a case assigning finite verb (5a). i. subjects with a non-finite verb (5b). (5) a. De Roo (1999) suggested the same for Dutch mass nouns and plural count nouns. that is. Subject without a verb: Target: De vrouw veegt de straat The woman sweeps the street Response: vrouw…straat woman…street a. and subjects without a verb (5c). This was done to evaluate whether verb presence or verb finiteness was the important factor for the production of complete noun phrases. Object with a verb: Target: De vrouw veegt de stoep The woman sweeps the pavement.
T 5 2. None of these included a verb that described the action on the picture even roughly. ‘‘I don’t know’’) were excluded from the analysis. only spontaneous utterances with a verb (finite or non-finite) were analysed. When a case-assigning transitive verb was used. No significant difference was found between the number of complete subject noun phrases and incomplete subject noun phrases also when there was no verb at all.22. The results of the Dutch elicitation study are presented in Tables 2 and 3. more incomplete than complete objects appeared. We analysed 201 of the responses to the pictures (83. T 5 0. To be able to determine whether a noun phrase or a pronoun was used as an object or a subject. When the verb in the sentence was non-finite.8% no verb was realised. significantly more complete than incomplete object noun phrases were produced. About half of the subjects were pronouns. In total.05 for all statistical tests. it was established whether a verb was produced and which syntactic roles (subject and/or object) were realised. No object pronouns were produced. T 5 4. was present. Fixed expressions (e. when there was no case-assigning verb present.008. and in 8.18 (see Table 2). The patients produced more subjects than objects due to the fact that some of the verbs could also be used without an object.2%) could not be analysed with respect to subject and object production due to zero reactions (‘‘I don’t know’’). perseverations. a finite verb. Table 2 presents the number of subject noun phrases in the various conditions. all subject pronouns appeared in the nominative case as required. Only three of these pronouns were produced with a non-finite verb and only one was produced without a verb. weet ik niet. The majority of these pronouns were produced in the presence of a finite verb (65 out of 69). only two nouns appeared with an incorrect determiner. of these 39 (16. A total of 69 of the subjects were realised as a pronoun. Significantly more complete subject noun phrases than subject noun phrases without a determiner were produced when the relevant case assigner. . T 5 0. For each utterance. with an alpha level of . The completeness of objects was also found to depend on the verbs. paraphasias. only 57. which was always realised in the second position as is obligatory in Dutch matrix clauses.g.CASE IN AGRAMMATIC PRODUCTION 959 TABLE 2 Dutch: Number of complete and incomplete subject noun phrases in relation to the presence of a case assigning finite verb Complete Finite verb Non-finite verb No verb 128 (97%) 14 (73%) 13 (65%) Incomplete 4 (3%) 5 (27%) 7 (35%) Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 words per participant. 171 subject noun phrases and 119 object noun phrases were produced.1% included a non-finite verb.9% of the 201 analysable utterances contained a finite verb. Of all nouns with a determiner (n 5 146). both due to a gender error. and whether they were realised as complete noun phrases or as incomplete noun phrases. Dutch results.8%). p 5 .. and Table 3 presents the distribution of object noun phrases (see Appendix B for individual data). We used the non-parametric Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Test for all comparisons. but this time on the existence rather than on the finiteness of the verbs (see Tables 3 and 4). there was no difference between the number of complete subject noun phrases and subject noun phrases without a determiner. However. p 5 . p 5 . or circumlocutions. 17.004. No case errors were made on the pronouns. In total. p 5 .
subjects usually appeared with a finite verb and therefore there were not enough instances of subjects with a non-finite verb to allow for a comparison between complete and incomplete noun phrases (there were only three such instances) or for a comparison between complete noun phrase subjects with and without verb finiteness.960 RUIGENDIJK AND FRIEDMANN TABLE 3 Dutch: The total number of complete and incomplete objects in relation to the presence of their case-assigning verb Complete Verb No verb 81 (79%) 6 (35%) Incomplete 21 (21%) 11 (65%) TABLE 4 Dutch: The number of complete and incomplete objects in relation to the presence of finite and non-finite verbs Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 Complete Finite verb Non-finite verb 56 (80%) 25 (78%) Incomplete 14 (20%) 7 (22%) but these cases were too few to reach significance (Because of the number of ties. T 5 0. is needed. the majority of the object nouns were complete. 80% of the objects were complete noun phrases. p 5 .83: chi-square for the group was run instead of Wilcoxon here because four participants did not produce any object in one of the conditions). p 5 . p 5 . This means that for the production of complete object noun phrases. when the verb was non-finite. which is a significant difference. When there was a verb in the sentence. In the corpus. subjects were realised as a complete noun phrase and not as an incomplete noun phrase (90 vs 0. p 5 .) Table 3 shows that. A chi-square test yielded x2 5 2. Thus. and no significant difference was found between the number of complete object noun phrases with finite and non-finite verbs. for both the finite and non-finite verbs. Whenever there was a finite verb. Furthermore. the rate of complete object noun phrases was not significantly different between finite and nonfinite verbs. 85% and 72% respectively.32.08. x2 5 1. with no significant difference between finite and non-finite verbs with respect to the rate of complete noun phrases (x2 5 0.02). unlike for subjects. Moreover. finiteness did not play a role for the objects. the Wilcoxon test could not be used.31. rather than verb finiteness. and in line with the predictions the finiteness of the verb did not play a role in the realisation of case on objects (as manifested by determiner production). and that it is tightly related to syntactic preconditions and specifically to the presence of a proper case assigner in the sentence. T 5 0.02. The analysis of the spontaneous speech data shows exactly the same pattern as the data from the elicitation task. p 5 . the existence of a case-assigning transitive verb. When the verb was finite. the . 78% of the objects were complete.05. T 5 5. As in the elicitation task.94. objects were realised as a complete noun phrase (n 5 35) significantly more times than as an incomplete noun phrase (n 5 9). p 5 . DISCUSSION The results from both Hebrew and Dutch indicate that the production of case itself is not impaired in agrammatism.
rather than its tense inflection. The results from Hebrew indicate a tight relation between case realisation and the production of the determiner. the case of the subject and the object is checked in spec-head configuration of the noun phrase (DP) and the case assigner.8 Thus finiteness. Subjects check their case against the tense of the verb that is in the tense phrase (TP). So the most important finding here is that there was a significant difference between sentences with a case assigner. (1996) and Ruigendijk and Bastiaanse (2002) as well as with our preserved case hypothesis. whereas for objects the verb itself. 2001). Furthermore. 1995). the subject and the object check their case with a case assigner. and objects are produced with a determiner when a verb (irrespective of its finiteness) is present. The results of the current study are readily explained by the combination of current linguistic theory and theories of agrammatic production. in which much more noun phrases were complete than incomplete. 1995. as in 98% of the sentences in which a determiner appeared on the object noun the accusative case marker was produced. the aspects that are relevant to our study remain the same: structural case is dependent on the relation between subject DP and finite V and the relation between object DP and a transitive V. and the case assigner is at the head of the phrase. The main findings of the study are that in Hebrew the accusative case marker is unimpaired and is produced correctly for 98% of the definite object nouns. the noun phrase is in the specifier position of the phrase. as well as the movement of the subject (and the verb) to TP are crucial for successful case assignment to subjects. subjects are produced with a determiner when a finite verb is present in the sentence.CASE IN AGRAMMATIC PRODUCTION 961 results show that agrammatic speakers respect the syntactic principles of case (case filter). Objects check their case with the verb at AgroP according to Chomsky (1995). was produced with a determiner. in which this was not true. and of objects in sentences that included a verb. in line with the findings of de Bleser et al. or the tense inflection of the verb. That is to say. inflection.. and therefore movement to higher nodes is unnecessary. Subject DPs raise to spec-TP to check their case against the verb and its tense. 2000. the large majority of the subjects in sentences that included a case-assigning finite verb. is the crucial factor. object case markers appeared only in sentences that included a verb. and verbs are interrelated. First. and they add support for the general claim that not all grammatical morphemes are impaired in agrammatism. and case for the object NP is assigned in a lower node of the tree. These findings have several implications. These results also indicate that case. determiners. According to current syntactic theory. When the conditions for case were met—i. or at the light v layer according to Chomsky (2000. 2001). Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 . In Dutch pronouns are never produced in a wrong case and determiners are produced correctly whenever a case assigner is present. such as assignment of case with and without AgroP. and they appeared as complete noun phrases significantly more often. 8 Specifically: According to the minimalist programme (Chomsky. the results from both Dutch and Hebrew demonstrate a close connection between the production of caseassigning verbs and the production of determiners and case markers: In Hebrew. they indicate that case is unimpaired in agrammatic production. In Dutch. In most utterances. within the framework of transformational grammar and the minimalist programme (Chomsky. which are in T0 (following the movement of the verb from VP to T0).e. when the proper case assigner was present—case was realised on the noun phrases. and sentences without a case assigner. Objects check their case against the verb on a low node of the syntactic tree. Note that although several different frameworks have been suggested for structural case. and in 98% of the sentences in which the case marker was produced the object was definite.
to which the matrix verb moves in Germanic languages like Dutch (in order to be in the second sentential position). Abney (1987) presented an alternative analysis. which might lead to 9 In the government and binding framework (e. such as noun phrases with a definite article or pronouns. do not require movement to high nodes or tense inflection. Objects. are either omitted or left in a non-finite form in a low node (which in Dutch and German is a sentence-final position. These results are in line with earlier studies that showed that the production of determiners in German depends on the realisation of a case assigning verb (Ruigendijk. When the German individuals with agrammatism do not realise a case assigner. and in Hebrew the position within VP after the subject) (Bastiaanse & van Zonneveld. 1986). which occurred when the subject or the object lacked case. 1992). Therefore. which in turn might lead to the production of incomplete object noun phrases. DPs in utterances with no suitable case assigner receive no case. these data also emphasise why testing Dutch is important.g. a determiner cannot appear because a caseless DP is ungrammatical. which is not subjected to the case filter. the noun was assumed to be the head of a noun phrase (NP). and therefore when verbs do not move high up and are uninflected for tense (when they are non-finite or omitted) case assignment to the subject fails and the determiner of the subject is omitted.9 and incomplete noun phrases (NPs).. Ruigendijk and Bastiaanse (2002) show that German agrammatic speakers produce more complete than incomplete noun phrases when a case assigner is realised. Ruigendijk & Bastiaanse. and therefore violate the case filter and are ungrammatical. both in spontaneous speech and in sentence-elicitation tasks. Thus. determiner phrase. Friedmann. 2000. and therefore the determiner’s morphological form remains unspecified. Verbs that cannot move to TP to check their tense inflection. noun phrases without a determiner. is related to the distinction between complete noun phrases. Kolk & Heeschen. but incomplete NPs without a case assigner do not violate the case filter. The argumentation could then be that if no case assigner is present. This distinction between NPs and DPs explains the omissions of determiners in our study. they could also be argued to be related to morphological case. is produced instead. the DP analysis: D (the determiner) is a functional head that takes a noun phrase as its complement. with the determiner in the specifier position. The relation between determiners and case or. and case is actually a property of complete noun phrases. the reason for determiner omission when case is not assigned. it can assign case to the object. only the existence of the verb is necessary for them. more specifically. even if it is non-finite and has not moved to a high node. on the other hand. the checking of the subject case against the verb and its tense cannot take place. the case filter applies to DPs rather than to NPs. Thus. the assignment of object case is deficient. which are called determiner phrases (DPs) in Abney’s (1987) terminology. Interestingly. Whereas these findings on German have already shown the strong relationship between determiner realisation and the presence of a case assigner. when the verb is omitted. 1998. an NP without a determiner. Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 .962 RUIGENDIJK AND FRIEDMANN When agrammatic speakers fail to move the verb and the subject to TP. 2002. no morphological case can be determined. However. when the verb is present in the sentence. and not of incomplete noun phrases. When there is no case. According to Ouhalla (1993). forming a DP. 2002). or to CP. Chomsky. they omit the determiner much more often than they produce it. which is shown on German determiners.
2007). A question remains regarding the other direction of the implication: the finding that sometimes when no case assigner was present. However. Notice. however. it gets nominative by default (van Zonneveld.. How did these noun phrases receive case? One possibility is that—at least for the subject noun phrases—patients can adopt a strategy. gender of the determiner and pronoun respectively) do not play a role. T or V. As such it is morphological case that is ‘‘neither necessary nor sufficient for satisfying the case filter’’ (Schutze. Since Dutch does not have morphological case on determiners. . and this could explain the fact that some complete subject noun phrases occurred without a proper case assigner without violating the case filter in our study.CASE IN AGRAMMATIC PRODUCTION 963 determiner omission.. that morphology does not play a role at all: first results from a close comparison of Dutch and German show that German speakers omit determiners more often than Dutch speakers (Ruigendijk. The results of the current study thus strongly suggest that when there is a relevant case assigner. 2001. Recently. whereas pragmatic factors (realising a definite or an indefinite determiner) and lexical and semantic factors (i. this characterisation would render the case filter vacuous. the presence of an appropriate case assigner in the sentence clearly made a difference. p.e. the results on Dutch have been replicated in a study in which the spontaneous speech of eight Dutch-speaking agrammatic aphasic speakers has been analysed with regard to the production and omission rates of determiners and pronouns and.208). rather than morphology.g.10 This does not mean. agrammatic speakers may be able to use this default option as a strategy when normal case assignment fails. As was also suggested in Ruigendijk et al. according to Schutze. This default strategy cannot explain the six object noun phrases that appeared with a determiner without a case-assigning verb. 2007). not ¨ ¨ 10 Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 We thank the reviewer for pointing out this important point to us. the Dutch participants still realised some complete noun phrases. Default case assignment is an option that has been proposed for normal elliptical utterances where structural case assignment fails: if the subject does not check/receive its case from I. over and above the default case. Ruigendijk and Baauw (2007) also show that many more complete noun phrases and pronouns are realised if a case assigner is present than absent. there is no morphological reason for article omission here. that this default strategy cannot be the whole story. because there was a significant difference in the production of complete subjects when the verb was finite compared to when it was not finite. The results we have presented here from Dutch show that it is the syntactic relationship between case assigners and noun phrases that is important. DPs) that are no associated with any case feature assigned or otherwise determined by syntactic means’’. (1999). so-called default case assignment. They furthermore demonstrate that it is mainly this syntactic factor of case assignment that affects the production and omission of determiners in agrammatic speech. among other things. Schutze (2001. 1994). Another problem for this default explanation is that it is not immediately clear at what level default case is applied. their relationship with the presence of a case assigner (Ruigendijk & Baauw. According to van Zonneveld (1994) it is indeed an alternative abstract case that is assigned if normal case assignment fails. p. the subject and object noun phrases (respectively) are complete. however. Thus. The case filter is. 206) ¨ therefore characterises default case as ‘‘… forms of a language […] that are used to spell out nominal expressions (e.
Instead. Results from former studies in which spontaneous speech was analysed support this explanation. left uninflected. even though case and determiners themselves are unimpaired. The results have interesting implications for the treatment of individuals with agrammatism. or appears in a wrong inflection at a low node. They indicate that training the production of isolated noun phrases to improve determiner and/or case marker production will not be enough. noun phrases without a determiner. Treatment that will improve the production of verbs will also improve Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 . When the subject or the object are caseless. these noun phrases do not have abstract case). the results of the present study suggest that determiners and case markers should be treated in the context of a sentence.and Dutch-speaking agrammatic patients produced virtually no incomplete noun phrases on a noun phrase insertion task in which the preposition was provided. which was the case in our study. An impairment in syntactic structure building. and simply started naming the objects and figures they saw in the picture. the causal chain that leads to determiner omissions. the relationship with no case assigner is clearer: when there is no case assigner there is no complete noun phrase. However. but a purely configurational requirement. The patients were examined with a picture description task. Ruigendijk (2002) showed that German. The data in Ruigendijk et al. a verb that has not moved to TP cannot assign case to the subject. causes difficulties in the movement of verbs to TP and CP. To summarise. these findings constitute further support for the claim that determiners are not omitted when a case assigner is present. When naming items in a picture in Dutch. and should be accompanied by treatment of verb production. Probably some of the patients still wanted to describe the picture as well as possible within the limits of their impairment. and therefore in many sentences the verb is either omitted. (1999) and Ruigendijk and Baauw (2007) show that the number of incomplete noun phrases in the speech of Dutch agrammatic speakers is (much) higher than the number of complete noun phrases when no case assigner is present.964 RUIGENDIJK AND FRIEDMANN morphologically motivated. And although they were asked to describe the pictures in one sentence. This leads to determiner omissions. De Roo (1995) showed that Dutch-speaking agrammatic patients almost never omit determiners from within a prepositional phrase (they do not omit ‘‘the’’ from the PP ‘‘in-the-garden’’). unfolds in the following way. When default case is morphological case. that is. although they omit determiners that do not appear in a PP approximately 20% of the time (de Roo did not analyse these omitted determiners with respect to whether or not a verb existed in the sentence). that is. and therefore they appear only as incomplete noun phrases. This close relation between a case assigner and the determiner has also been reported for another type of case assigner: prepositions. it is unclear how it can be applied to Dutch determiners that are not specified (any more) for morphological case. In other words. especially if both the patient and the experimenter are looking at the same picture. since the determiners and case markers are related to case assigners—verbs. Given that prepositions are case assigners. they sometimes completely failed to produce a sentence or even a fragment. they cannot be complete noun phrases because complete noun phrases require case. the more important finding is that as soon as a case assigner is present many more complete than incomplete noun phrases are realised. When a verb is omitted case cannot be assigned to either the subject or the object. it is possible to use a determiner in a deictic way (outside a case assigning context. Another possible explanation comes from the nature of the task that was used. when the task does not allow for a naming strategy.
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968 RUIGENDIJK AND FRIEDMANN APPENDIX A: INDIVIDUAL DATA – HEBREW TABLE A1 Object noun phrases with and without an accusative marker: Spontaneous speech Accusative + definite NP AL RA RN IE RS GR Total 12 8 11 5 34 24 94 No accusative + definite NP 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 Accusative + indefinite NP 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 TABLE A2 Object noun phrases with and without the accusative marker: Sentence elicitation tasks Accusative + definite NP AL RA HY ML SB MA AE Total 43 48 15 31 60 5 17 219 No accusative + definite NP 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 Accusative + indefinite NP 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 4 APPENDIX B: INDIVIDUAL DATA – DUTCH TABLE B1 Subject DPs (complete noun phrases) and NPs (incomplete noun phrases) with a finite verb. a non-finite verb and without a verb Subjects With finite verb Participant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total DP 15 22 6 0 27 26 28 4 128 NP 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 4 With non-finite verb DP 1 4 0 2 0 0 0 7 14 NP 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 1 5 Without a verb DP 2 3 1 4 1 0 0 2 13 NP 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 3 7 18 29 8 13 28 26 30 19 171 4 1 11 11 0 1 0 4 32 Total subjects Omitted subjects .
CASE IN AGRAMMATIC PRODUCTION 969 TABLE B2 Object DPs (complete noun phrases) and NPs (incomplete noun phrases) with a finite verb. Object With a verb Participant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total DP 14 12 8 9 1 8 23 6 81 NP 2 2 2 4 0 6 2 3 21 Without a verb DP 1 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 6 NP 0 2 0 7 1 0 0 1 11 17 18 10 22 2 14 25 11 119 5 12 9 2 26 13 5 10 82 Total objects Omitted objects Downloaded by [Technological Ed Inst Patras ] at 06:32 02 May 2012 . a non-finite verb and without a verb.
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