Agrammatic comprehension of simple active sentences with moved constituents: Hebrew OSV and OVS structures

Naama Friedmann*, Lewis P. Shapiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines agrammatic comprehension of object-subject-verb (OSV) and object-verb-subject (OVS) structures in Hebrew. These structures are syntactically identical to the basic order subject-verb-object (SVO) sentence except for the movement of the object to the beginning of the sentence, and thus enable empirical examination of syntactic movement in agrammatic comprehension. Seven individuals with agrammatism, 7 individuals with conduction aphasia, and 7 individuals without language impairment, all native speakers of Hebrew, performed a sentence-picture matching task. The task compared OSV and OVS sentences to SVO sentences and to subject and object relatives. Individuals with agrammatism performed more poorly than those in either of the other groups. Their comprehension of SVO sentences was significantly above chance, but comprehension of OSV and OVS sentences was at chance and was poorer than comprehension of SVO sentences. These results show that agrammatic comprehension of structures that involve movement of a noun phrase is impaired even when the structure is a simple active sentence, in line with the Trace Deletion Hypothesis (TDH; Y. Grodzinsky, 1990, 1995a, 2000). A modification is suggested to accommodate the TDH with the VP Internal Subject Hypothesis, according to which individuals with agrammatism use an "Avoid Movement" strategy in comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-297
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Agrammatism
  • Comprehension
  • Conduction aphasia
  • Hebrew
  • Syntax


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