Agrammatism by Mary-Louise Kean

By Mary-Louise Kean

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Two doc­ tors . . and ah . . teeth (Goodglass, 1976, 238). This patient is not naming his teeth, but attempting to predicate of himself that he had a dental appointment. Similarly, in a less severely affected patient (Goodglass, 1967), the string Christmas—well—I—uh—Pittsburgh is entirely predicative in intent; the patient is attempting to convey that he went to Pittsburgh at Christmas. He lacks the grammatical apparatus for signaling that the nouns produced are predications, but not the 1. is Agrammatism a Unitary Phenomenon?

An identical observation was also used by Goodglass, Gleason et al. (1972) as an argument against the economy of effort theory. Cohen and Hécaen (1975), in addition, argue that what we observe in the agrammatic is poverty; interpreting it as economy gives insufficient weight to the fact that these patients often use many empty filler words (but, y'know) and reiterate the content words that they do manage to say. The nature of the relationship between fluency of speech output and agrammatism is, for the moment, in the realm of speculation, for lack of systematic data.

Syndromes defined in this manner entail the occurrence of nondissociable complexes of symptoms that correspond to single-processing-component deficits. Multicomponent deficit syndromes entail the in-principle dissociability of subcomplexes of symptoms that make up the complex syndrome. Thus, a further consequence of our approach is that the necessary co­ occurrence of symptoms defines the identification of cognitive process­ ing modules and their internal functioning, while the dissociation of symptoms reflects the independence of processing components.

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