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date: 15 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reports studies of parallelism in VP-ellipsis in two populations whose linguistic ability is lacking. First, a complex comprehension experiment was conducted with individuals with Broca’s aphasia, said to suffer from a specific syntactic deficit that some view as restricted to the deletion of traces of movement, while others argue is related to “complexity.” Though still at a preliminary stage, the experimental record suggests that parallelism, as evinced by the patients’ ability to reconstruct elided VPs, is relatively intact for these patients, indicating that their deficit is restricted. Second, a similar study was run with normally developing, 4–5-year-old children, whose linguistic abilities are not yet fully manifested. Nevertheless, these children use parallelism in an adult-like fashion, and correctly reconstruct elided material in comprehension. We also provide evidence that 3-year-olds use elided VPs in spontaneous language production. Both studies are used to argue for fine deficit analyses, and against generic, “complexity”-based accounts of language development and language loss.

Keywords: aphasia, VP-ellipsis, acquisition, experiment, trace deletion, complexity

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