Ludovico Franco, Elisa Zampieri, Francesca Meneghello

Evaluating evaluative morphology in agrammatism: a case study in Italian

  • Abstract

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Keywords: aphasia, evaluative morpheme, Italian, lexicon, production, syntax.

The aim of this study is to experimentally investigate Evaluative Morphology (EM) in an Italian agrammatic speaker. In neurolinguistic literature, to our knowledge, there are no previous attempts to systematically analyze possible deficits, specifically concerning EM in agrammatic speakers. Previous theoretical works argued that Italian EM should be considered as a specific type of lexical process, different from both inflection and derivation (Scalise 1984). In recent years, there have been many works devoted to the study of evaluative morphology from a syntactic viewpoint (e.g. Cinque 2006, 2011; Ott 2011; De Belder et al. 2009, to appear). Data from agrammatic production is crucial for checking the validity of a syntactic approach to evaluative markers. The results show that our agrammatic Crossed Aphasic speaker does not have a specific deficit for evaluative morphology. This fact seems to weaken a syntactic approach to EM, where e.g. evaluative markers are treated as functional heads within an extended projection. In fact, given that agrammatic speakers are standardly assumed to be impaired with the production of morphosyntactic functional items (see e.g. Berndt & Caramazza 1980; Miceli et al. 1989), words with evaluative morphemes appears to be stored in the lexicon and not syntactically derived.

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