By Mary-Louise Kean

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A Multicomponent Deficit View 37 ability to produce nouns in agrammatic patients; this fact should be given appropriate consideration in any account of the basis for agrammatism (see Miceli, Silveri, Villa, & Caramazza, 1984, for discussion). Word-Order Errors The most controversial proposal about productive agrammatism is the claim that agrammatics have difficulty producing nouns in the correct order around main verbs (Saffran, Schwartz, & Marin, 1980). Specifically, the claim is that these patients do not demonstrate marked difficulties when they must produce sentences that involve an animate subject and an inanimate object.

A final observa­ tion by Miceli is that verb inflectional errors have a specific pattern: There is a preponderant tendency to produce verbs inappropriately in their infinitive form. An important conclusion forced by a consideration of the contrast between inflectional-morphology deficits in languages like English and Italian is that the omission of bound morphemes by English-speaking agrammatics is not simply the result of an economizing effort. The errors reported for Italian and Hebrew agrammatics suggest instead that 36 Alfonso Caramazza and Rita Sloan Berndt these patients have difficulty selecting the correct inflectional mor­ phology and that the omission in English probably reflects a tendency to select the more frequent, simple form by default.

Thus, there would seem to be no evidence on which to postulate impaired access to the lexicon for grammatical morphemes as a basis for the symptoms associated with agrammatism. This brief review of the symptoms that co-occur with agrammatism has revealed a less than consistent pattern. There is considerable evi­ dence that asyntactic comprehension and, more generally, receptive syntactic processing impairments co-occur with agrammatism. On the other hand, cases have been reported where this "necessary" co-occur­ rence has not been noted.

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Agrammatism by Mary-Louise Kean
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