Exploring wh-questions in agrammatism: Evidence from Greek

Valantis Fyndanis, Spyridoula Varlokosta, Kyrana Tsapkini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study investigates the ability of three Greek-speaking agrammatic patients to produce and comprehend wh-questions by means of a wh-question elicitation task and a picture-pointing task. The role of question type is explored by comparing argument with adjunct questions and subject with object questions. Overall, production was found significantly more impaired than comprehension. The agrammatic participants had better performance on argument than on adjunct questions, while no dissociation was observed between subject and object questions. The overall difficulty with wh-questions indicates that the agrammatic participants had a deficit in syntactic movement or in handling CP, a finding which is compatible with other cross-linguistic results. Although this finding could be accounted for by existing hypotheses, an alternative account is proposed, according to which wh-questions are difficult to process because they are associated with LF-interpretable features, which increase their processing load. Finally, the preponderance of argument over adjunct questions reinforces the (double) dissociation between these two question types reported in the literature, while the lack of a dissociation between the subject- and the object-questions suggests that both question types involve syntactic movement to CP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)644-662
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Neurolinguistics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Adjunct
  • Agrammatism
  • Argument
  • Greek
  • Movement
  • Wh-questions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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