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Auteur: Zoltán BÁNRÉTI

Co-Auteur(s): Márta Szücs

Compounding and lexical recursion in aphasia and in Alzheimer's disease

Abstract/Résumé: The issue We examined the lexical recursion by tests requiring construction of compound words. Broca's and conduction aphasics and subjects with moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) and healthy control subjects were involved. Some Hungarian compounds have a binary branching structure in which the constituents are also binary constructions. The construction can be repeated recursively, the operation is called lexical recursion. For example: (((víz tisztít+ó) szerel+ő) oktat+ó) = ((( water clean+er) fit+(t)+er) instruct+or) Tests The tests consisted of 63 pictures, each accompanied by a statement referring to it. While the the subjects were looking at the pictures, they heard statements. Then a question was asked. To response the subjects had to create compounds of two, three, and four ultimate constitunets recursively. It was their performance in producing three- and four-constitunet compounds that we took to be relevant with respect to their recursive abilities. Frequency effects were also considered. Results Broca's and conduction aphasics followed the strategy of lexical search: they produced simple words with synonym/hyperonym meaning, instead of three- and four part constituent compounds. In this way, lexical recursion was avoided. Persons with moderate AD preferred the strategy of exit to syntax. Increasing complexity of the target word triggered this strategy, the number of responses involving syntactic phrases grew radically. DPs and embedded sentences were produced instead of three- and four-constituent compounds. AD subjects avoided lexical recursion by using the strategy of exit to syntax. The normal control subjects did not exhibit these features. In other tests we found a deficit of recursive syntax in Broca's aphasia but the recursive syntax remained unimpaired in moderate AD (Bánréti at al 2011). Conclusion Language has recursion outside syntax, too: this is lexical recursion. The results are explained by the fact that it is not a single recursive operation applied at various linguistic levels but rather there are several recursive operations bound to various grammatical subsystems that can be selectively impaired. References Bánréti, Z., Mészáros É., Hoffmann, I., Örley, Z. (2011) Recursion in language: aphasia and Alzheimer's disease. In A. Botinis (Ed): Experiemntal Linguistics (pp. 23-27). Paris:ISCA and University of Athens Semenza, C., De Pellegrin, S., Battel, I., Garzon, M., Meneghello, F., Chiarelli, V. (2011) Copmpounds in different aphasia categories: a study on picture naming. Journal of Clinical Experimental Neuropsychology, 2011; 33(10):1099-1107. The reserach was supported by the Hungarian National Research Fund (OTKA) No. 100804.