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SYNTAX 9 AGRAMMATISM DAY 38 – NOV 25, 2013 Brain & Language LING 4110-4890-5110-7960 NSCI 4110-4891-6110 Harry Howard Tulane University.

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Presentation on theme: "SYNTAX 9 AGRAMMATISM DAY 38 – NOV 25, 2013 Brain & Language LING 4110-4890-5110-7960 NSCI 4110-4891-6110 Harry Howard Tulane University."— Presentation transcript:

1 SYNTAX 9 AGRAMMATISM DAY 38 – NOV 25, 2013 Brain & Language LING NSCI Harry Howard Tulane University

2 Course organization The syllabus, these slides and my recordings are available at If you want to learn more about EEG and neurolinguistics, you are welcome to participate in my lab. This is also a good way to get started on an honor's thesis. The grades are posted to Blackboard. 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 2

3 REVIEW 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 3

4 Modular vs. interactive processing Table adapted from Frisch et al. (2004) English example (orig. German) Phrase structure obeyed Argument structure obeyed N150N400P600 The old cat slept in the garden and … ✔✔ -- The cat old slept in the garden and … ✖✔✔✖✔ The old cat slept the garden and … ✔✖✖✔✔ The cat old slept the garden and … ✖✖✔✖✔ 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 4 Modular: an error found early could turn off additional processing. Interactive: errors should add up.

5 SENTENCE COMPREHENSION AND SYNTACTIC PARSING Ingram I, §13 On-line processing, working memory and modularity 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 5

6 What is this? `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 6

7 Jabberwocky sentences Table 13.2, adapted from Hahne & Jescheniak (2001) English example (orig. German) Phrase structure obeyed Real words N150N400P600 The old cat slept in the garden. ✔✔ -- ✔*✔* The lon garp frept in the kayton. ✔✖✖✖*✖* ✔ The old cat slept the in garden. ✖✔✔✖*✖* ✔ The lon garp frept the in kayton. ✖✖✔✖*✖* ✔ 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 7 Modular: an error found early could turn off additional processing. Interactive: errors should add up.

8 Deep vs. surface anaphora What is anaphora? The ability of one expression to refer to another. Surface anaphora The ring that John gave to Mary was made of gold. The ring that John gave __ to Mary was made of gold. How do we know what the gap/trace after gave refers to? Its reference is resolved by syntax. Deep anaphora He gave a ring to her. How do we know what he or she refers to? Their reference is resolved by semantics/pragmatics, which is somehow ‘deeper’ than syntax. In particular, pragmatics may consult a model of the discourse, that is, a way of keeping track of what is being/has been talked about. Lisa spoke to Bill, and Lisa spoke to John. 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 8

9 Differences in ERPs between kinds of anaphora See examples p. 292, translated from German; Fig /25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 9 Surface/ellipsis Werner gave Lisa a ring and Joseph … Lisa a necklace. Deep/discourse model Werner gave Lisa a ring and Joseph gave Lisa a necklace.

10 Summary Read Ingram’s summary 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 10

11 AGRAMMATISM REVISITED Ingram IV, §14 On-line processing, working memory and modularity 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 11

12 OFF-LINE METHODS OF LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 12

13 A test Zurif et al. (1972) Which pair of words (A or B) goes best together? A | B i. the – baby | the – cries ii. the – baby | baby – cries iii. the – cries | baby – cries These pairwise comparisons can be summarized in a tree structure called a dendrogram. 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 13

14 Dendrograms for The baby cries Fig /25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 14 the baby cries controlaphasia

15 Dendrograms for other sentences Fig /25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 15 the dog chases a cat controlaphasia the man was hurt the dog chases a cat the man was hurt

16 Conclusions What shall we conclude? Agrammatic aphasics can process content words, but not grammatical or function words. 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 16

17 NEXT TIME P11 Part IV. Discourse §15, Discourse processing 11/25/13Brain & Language - Harry Howard - Tulane University 17


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