Investigating the Agrammatic Production of Canonical and Non-Canonical Sentences Cross-Linguistically

Mohammad Harun


Research on agrammatism has revealed that the nature of linguistic impairment is systematic and interpretable. Non-canonical sentences are more impaired than those of canonical sentences. Previous studies on Japanese (Hiroshi et al. 2004; Chujo 1983; Tamaoka et al. 2003; Nakayama 1995) report that aphasic patients take longer Response Time (RT) and make more mistakes in producing non-canonical sentences compared to that of canonical sentences. The present research investigates the production impairments of canonical and non-canonical sentences cross-linguistically focusing on Bangla, Japanese, German and English aphasic patients. While Bangla, Japanese, German have relatively flexible word order, and hence allow freer phrasal movement, English exemplifies less freedom in word order patterns, and does not allow as much movement as the former three. We hypothesized that Bangla agrammatic patients would have more impairments in producing non-canonical sentences than those of canonical counterparts, while the production of canonical sentences is not completely devoid of impairments too. Primary data were collected from Bangla agrammatic patients, and secondary data from Japanese, German and English were exploited for cross-linguistic comparison. The findings show that Bangla agrammatic speakers have severe impairments in producing passive sentences, although the production of active ones are not completely devoid of impairments. The cross-linguistic comparison of the findings implies that the production of Bangla agrammatism tend to be similar to other agrammatic production and the production of non-canonical sentences are more difficult than those of canonical sentences cross-linguistically.


Bangla Agrammatism, (Non-)Canonicity, Passive Sentences, Minimalist Program

Full Text:



Agnew, Z. K., van de Koot, H., McGettigan, C., & Scott, S. K. (2014). Do sentences with unaccusative verbs involve syntactic movement? Evidence from neuroimaging. Language, cognition and neuroscience, 29(9), 1035-1045.

Arabatzi, Marina, and Susan Edwards. (2002). Tense and syntactic processes in agrammatic speech. Brain and Language 80.3, 314-327.

Avrutin, S. (2001). Linguistics and agrammatism. Glot international, 5(3), 1-11.

Bastiaanse, R., Hugen, J., Kos, M., & Van Zonneveld, R. (2002). Lexical, morphological, and syntactic aspects of verb production in agrammatic aphasics. Brain and language 80.2, 142-159.

Bastiaanse, R. (2008). Production of verbs in base position by Dutch agrammatic speakers: Inflection versus finiteness. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 21(2), 104-119.

Bastiaanse, R., Bamyaci, E., Hsu, C. J., Lee, J., Duman, T. Y., & Thompson, C. K. (2011). Time reference in agrammatic aphasia: A cross-linguistic study. Journal of Neurolinguistics 24.6, 652-673.

Beveridge, Madeleine EL, and Thomas H. Bak. (2011). The languages of aphasia research: Bias and diversity. Aphasiology 25.12, 1451-1468.

Bobaljik, J. D., & Thráinsson, H. (1998). Two heads aren’t always better than one. Syntax, 1(1), 37-71.

Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., & Schlesewsky, M. (2013). Reconciling time, space and function: a new dorsal–ventral stream model of sentence comprehension. Brain and language, 125(1), 60-76.

Burchert, F., Meißner, N., & De Bleser, R. (2008). Production of non-canonical sentences in agrammatic aphasia: Limits in representation or rule application?. Brain and language, 104(2), 170-179.

Chujo, K. (1983). The interrelationships among strategies for sentence comprehension. Japanese Journal of Psychology.

Cho-Reyes, S., & Thompson, C. K. (2012). Verb and sentence production and comprehension in aphasia: Northwestern Assessment of Verbs and Sentences (NAVS). Aphasiology, 26(10), 1250-1277.

Chomsky, N. (1993). Lectures on government and binding: The Pisa lectures (No. 9). Walter de Gruyter.

Chomsky, N. (1995). The minimalist program. MIT press.

Chujo, K. (1983). The interrelationships among strategies for sentence comprehension. Japanese Journal of Psychology.

Duman, T. Y., & Bastiaanse, R. (2009). Time reference through verb inflection in Turkish agrammatic aphasia. Brain and Language, 108(1), 30-39.

Engel, S., Shapiro, L. P., & Love, T. (2018). Proform-antecedent linking in individuals with agrammatic aphasia: A test of the intervener hypothesis. Journal of neurolinguistics, 45, 79-94.

Faroqi-Shah, Y., & Thompson, C. K. (2004). Semantic, lexical, and phonological influences on the production of verb inflections in agrammatic aphasia. Brain and language, 89(3), 484-498.

Faroqi-Shah, Y., & Thompson, C. K. (2007). Verb inflections in agrammatic aphasia: Encoding of tense features. Journal of Memory and Language 56.1, 129-151.

Friederici, A. D., Fiebach, C. J., Schlesewsky, M., Bornkessel, I. D., & Von Cramon, D. Y. (2006). Processing linguistic complexity and grammaticality in the left frontal cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 16(12), 1709-1717.

Friederici, A. D. (2012). The cortical language circuit: from auditory perception to sentence comprehension. Trends in cognitive sciences, 16(5), 262-268.

Friedmann, N., Grodzinsky, Y. (1997). Tense and Agreement in agrammatic production: pruning the syntactic tree. Brain and Language 56, 397—425.

Friedmann, N. (2002). The fragile nature of the left periphery: CP deficits in agrammatic aphasia. In Proceedings of the 18th IATL conference, The Israeli Association for Theoretical Linguistics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Fyndanis, V., Varlokosta, S., & Tsapkini, K. (2012). Agrammatic production: Interpretable features and selective impairment in verb inflection. Lingua, 122(10), 1134-1147.

Hartsuiker, R.J., Kolk, H.H.J., Huinck, P. (1999). Agrammatic production of subject-verb agreement: the effect of conceptual number. Brain and Language 69, 119—160.

Hirotani, M., Makuuchi, M., Rüschemeyer, S. A., & Friederici, A. D. (2011). Who was the agent? The neural correlates of reanalysis processes during sentence comprehension. Human brain mapping, 32(11), 1775-1787.

Hoen, M., Pachot-Clouard, M., Segebarth, C., & Dominey, P. F. (2006). When Broca experiences the Janus syndrome: An ER-fMRI study comparing sentence comprehension and cognitive sequence processing. Cortex, 42(4), 605-623.

Imtiaz, M. (2013). Sentence Comprehension Problem of Bengali Broca’s Aphasics: A Test of the Trace Deletion Hypothesis (TDH). [Unpublished Master’s Thesis]. University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Kemmerer, D. (2012). The Cross‐Linguistic Prevalence of SOV and SVO Word Orders Reflects the Sequential and Hierarchical Representation of Action in Broca’s Area." Language and Linguistics Compass 6.1, 50-66.

Kinno, R., Kii, Y., Kurokawa, S., Owan, Y., Kasai, H., & Ono, K. (2017). Effects of word order and morphological information on Japanese sentence comprehension in nonfluent/agrammatic variant of primary progressive aphasia. Journal of Neurolinguistics 44, 107-119.

Kok, P., van Doorn, A., & Kolk, H. (2007). Inflection and computational load in agrammatic speech. Brain and Language, 102(3), 273-283.

Lee, J., & Thompson, C. K. (2005). Functional categories in agrammatic speech. LSO working papers in linguistics, 5, 107.

Levelt, W. J. M, C. Brown, & Hagoort, P. (1999). The neurocognition of language. Language Production: A blueprint of the speaker (ed.) C. Brown and P. Hagoort

Mack, J. E., Meltzer-Asscher, A., Barbieri, E., & Thompson, C. K. (2013). Neural correlates of processing passive sentences. Brain sciences, 3(3), 1198-1214.

Makuuchi, M., Grodzinsky, Y., Amunts, K., Santi, A., & Friederici, A. D. (2013). Processing noncanonical sentences in Broca's region: reflections of movement distance and type. Cerebral Cortex, 23(3), 694-702.

Mehri, A., Ghorbani, A., Darzi, A., Jalaie, S., & Ashayeri, H. (2016). Comparing the production of complex sentences in Persian patients with post-stroke aphasia and non-damaged people with normal speaking. Iranian journal of neurology, 15(1), 28.

Menn, L. (2009). Child language, aphasia, and general psycholinguistics. na.

Nakayama, M. (1995). Scrambling and probe recognition. Japanese sentence processing, ed. by R. Mazuka, and N. Nagai, 257-273.

Nanousi, V., Masterson, J., Druks, J., & Atkinson, M. (2006). Interpretable vs. uninterpretable features: Evidence from six Greek-speaking agrammatic patients. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 19(3), 209-238.

Newman, S. D., Ikuta, T., & Burns Jr, T. (2010). The effect of semantic relatedness on syntactic analysis: an fMRI study. Brain and language, 113(2), 51-58.

Ouhalla, J. (1993). Functional categories, agrammatism and language acquisition. Linguistische Berichte, (143), 3-36.

Price, C. J., & Crinion, J. (2005). The latest on functional imaging studies of aphasic stroke. Current opinion in neurology, 18(4), 429-434.

Rispens, J., Bastiaanse, R., & Van Zonneveld, R. (2001). Negation in agrammatism: a cross-linguistic comparison. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 14(1), 59-83.

Roland, D., Dick, F., & Elman, J. L. (2007). Frequency of basic English grammatical structures: A corpus analysis. Journal of memory and language, 57(3), 348-379.

Röder, B., Stock, O., Neville, H., Bien, S., & Rösler, F. (2002). Brain activation modulated by the comprehension of normal and pseudo-word sentences of different processing demands: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Neuroimage 15.4, 1003-1014.

Santi, A., & Grodzinsky, Y. (2010). fMRI adaptation dissociates syntactic complexity dimensions. Neuroimage, 51(4), 1285-1293.

Schwartz, M. F., Linebarger, M. C., Saffran, E. M., & Pate, D. S. (1987). Syntactic transparency and sentence interpretation in aphasia. Language and Cognitive Processes, 2(2), 85-113.

Shapiro, T., Sherman, M., Calamari, G., & Koch, D. (1987). Attachment in autism and other developmental disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 26.4, 480-484.

Tamanna, S. P. (2017). Production and comprehension deficit in Broca's Aphasia: A test in Bengali (Master's thesis, The University of Bergen).

Tamaoka, K., Sakai, H., Kawahara, J. I., & Miyaoka, Y. (2003). The effects of phrase-length order and scrambling in the processing of visually presented Japanese sentences. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 32.4, 431-454.

Varlokosta, S., Valeonti, N., Kakavoulia, M., Lazaridou, M., Economou, A., & Protopapas, A. (2006). The breakdown of functional categories in Greek aphasia: Evidence from agreement, tense, and aspect. Aphasiology 20.8, 723-743.

Vigneau, M., Beaucousin, V., Herve, P. Y., Duffau, H., Crivello, F., Houde, O., ... & Tzourio-Mazoyer, N. (2006). Meta-analyzing left hemisphere language areas: phonology, semantics, and sentence processing. Neuroimage 30.4,1414-1432.

Wenzlaff, M., & Clahsen, H. (2004). Tense and agreement in German agrammatism. Brain and language, 89(1), 57-68.

Yokoyama, S., Watanabe, J., Iwata, K., Ikuta, N., Haji, T., Usui, N., ... & Horie, K. (2007). Is Broca's area involved in the processing of passive sentences? An event-related fMRI study. Neuropsychologia, 45(5), 989-996.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2010-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.