Bad_20M.S._20Thesis_20PROPOSAL by Chinesedragon


									                                                                               Xxxx Yyyy 1

                      Research Proposal for EMCL Master’s Thesis

                                Xxxx Yyyy (email address)

                         The proposal is submitted on July 2, 2007

Advisor: Wwww Zzzz

Working Title:
Patte rns of Aspect/Tense Production in Newspeak Broca’s Aphasic Patients

Objective of the Research
      While working on the paper in frames of the professor Uuuu’s Aphasiology course on
the Aspect in Newspeak production, I tested 10 normal subjects, 7 of which were people who
lived in Oz for more than 5 years and mainly spoke Oz during this time. The results
indicated that the majority of mistakes were substitutions of past imperfective verbs to their
past perfective aspectual pairs and present imperfective verbs to their past perfective
aspectual pairs.
      Trying to interpret these results I looked at language acquisition studies in different
languages including Newspeak (Smith , N., 2000) and it came up that children preferentially
link telic predicates with perfective/past morphology and atelic predicates with
imperfective/present morphology.
      One proposed account of this acquisition under-extension invokes Prototype Theory
(Shirai & Andersen1995). It says that there are two prototypes which anchor the
temporal/aspectual categories: on the one hand is the past-perfective-telic prototype and on
the other is a present-imperfective-atelic one. During language acquisition, children cling to
the prototypical cores and shun peripheral forms which cut across the prototypes.
       It was found (Wagner, 2002) that with respect to temporal/aspectual semantics, adults
differ from children only in degree, not kind.
      The objective of my study is to extend to the Broca’s aphasics the statement of the
Prototype Theory that the temporal/aspectual groupings should be found outside the first
language acquisition situation and to continue the discussion about if it is possible to find
parallelism between the processes of acquisition and loss of language (Caramazza, 1994; De
Bleser &. Kauschke, 2003).

Hypothesis and Predictions
     Few studies were devoted to the investigation of the Aspect in agrammatic production.
Stavrakaki and Kouvava (2003) analyzing a spontaneous speech data from two Greek
agrammatic speakers found that the agrammatic patients resort to the verbs in Present
Imperfective form. The provided explanation was that Present Imperfective verb forms are
unmarked in Greek, so these forms dispensed from computational load seem to be easily
     The results of Varlacosta et al.`s (2007) study did not support those of Stavrakaki and
Kouvava. They show that the Greek Broca aphasics make twice as much mistakes in
imperfective aspect than in perfective. From the materials we can see the majority of tested
verbs were telic.
                                                                                 Xxxx Yyyy 2

      Concerning Tense production Bastaanse’s study (2007) revealed that for agrammatic
aphasics verbs in past tense are more difficult to produce than verbs in present tense. In this
study mostly atelic verbs were tested.
      My question is if the verb telicity influences the performance of Broca aphasics in
Aspect/Tense production.
      In my research I am taking the prototype account and hypothesize that the pattern of the
temporal/aspectual groupings in agrammatic speakers reflects conceptual rather than
linguistic organization.
      The alternative to the Prototype hypothesis is Kolk’s Adaptation hypothesis (Kolk,
2000) which says that aphasics prefer unmarked forms to marked, as unmarked forms require
less computational mechanisms.
      In Newspeak markedness usually follows the semantics of the verbs. So the telic verb
has perfects unmarked form and the imperfect form is derived from perfect and vice versa.
      To control for this, I am going to use a small group of Newspeak verbs in which both
member of the aspectual denote an undividable single whole event (telic semantics).
Imerfectives in these pairs don’t basically have a progressive meaning and may denote past
habitual or generalised- factual events (lose (Ipf) – relose (Perf)). But in these verbs the
present imperfective verb is morphologically unmarked and its’ aspectual pair is derived from
it by means of prefixation.
      Considering these aspectual pairs the Kolk’s Adaptation hypothesis (Kolk, 2000)
predicts that the present imperfect morphology will be preferred by agrammatic subjects as it
is morphologically simpler.
      The Prototype Theory (Shirai & Andersen1995, 1996) makes a prediction that the past
perfect morphology will be easier for the subjects as it is inherent to the telic semantics.

Proposed Method
      The subjects will be presented with the sentence completion task.
      There will be one source and one tested sentence. The test sentence will contain a gap at
the position in which the inflected verb normally appears. Both sentences will have the same
subject and object, only the used verbs will differ. The sentences will be matched in length
and in structure (SVO for all sentences). Only second person singular masculine noun will be
used as a subject in both sentences to avoid additional load of verb agreement. The sentences
will be mixed and presented in random order.
      The first visually presented source clause will be read aloud to the patient by the
experimenter followed by an auditorily and visually presented second clause—the test
sentence. The subject will be asked to complete the last sentence in a similar way by choosing
one of the verbs in aspectual pair, which were given to him in infinitive form, and filling it in
the second sentence using the same tense and aspect as in the first sentence. There will be
three conditions: finite verb in present tense, finite imperfective verb in past tense and finite
perfective verb in past tense:
      1. Present Imperfect: The boy finds the money.
      2. Past Imperfect: The boy found the money.
      3. Past Perfect: Мальчик The boy have found the money.

     Tested sentence:
     The boy …. the money.
     to lose – to relose inf. Imperf/Perf).
                                                                              Xxxx Yyyy 3

      The test started with an example that was repeated until it was clear that the patient
understood the task.
      A simple correct/incorrect scoring system was used. Self-corrections were allowed and
the final answer was the one that was analyzed.

               Tentative Timetable for Completion of the Proposal Research
                        Stage                                      Deadline
1. Completion of proposal for research:                          29 June, 2007
2. Implementation of data collection                            1 August, 2007
3. Completion of data collection                               15 October, 2007
4. Completion of data analysis                                1 November, 2007
5. Completion of an outline/key sentences for first           1 November, 2007
6. Completion of first draft                                 10 November, 2007
7. Completion of revised draft(s):                           20 November, 2007
8. Submission:                                               30 November, 2007

Preliminary List of References

Bastiaanse, R., (2007). Production of verbs in base position by Dutch agrammatic speakers:
       Inflection versus.... Journal of Neurolinguistics, in press.
Caramazza, A. (1994). Parallels and divergences in the acquisition and dissolution of
        Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B, 346, 121–127.
De Bleser, R. & Kauschke, C. (2003), Acquisition and loss of nouns and verbs: parallel or
       divergent patterns? Journal of Neurolinguistics, 16, 213–229
Gagarina, N. (2004). Does the acquisition of aspect have anything to do with aspectual pairs?
       ZAS Papers in Linguistics, 33, 39-61.
Kolk, H. J. & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2000). Agrammatic sentence processing: severity,
        complexity, and priming. Behavioral & Brain Sciences 23. 39-40.
Shirai, Yasuhiro & Andersen, Roger (1995). The acquisition of tense-aspect morphology: A
         prototype account. Language, 71, 743-763.
Stavrakaki S. & Kouvava S. (2003). Functional categories in agrammatism: Evidence from
        Greek. Brain and Language 86, 129 – 141.
Varlacosta S., Valeonti N., Kakavoulia M., Lazaridou M., Economou A. & Protopapas A.
        (2006) The breakdown of functional categories in Greek aphasia: Evidence from
        agreement, tense and aspect. Aphasiology, 20, Issue 8, 723 – 743
Wagner L. (2002) The Influence of Conceptual Prototypes on Linguistic Judgments of Tense
        & Aspect. The proceedings of the conference…

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