Preservation of passive constructions in a patient with primary progressive aphasia

Vitor Zimmerer, Ewa Dabrowska, Charles Romanowski, Catrin Blank, Rosemary Varley

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Research into agrammatic comprehension in English has described a pattern of impaired understanding of passives and retained ability on active constructions. Some accounts of this dissociation predict that patients who are unable to comprehend actives will also be impaired in the comprehension of passives. We report the case of a man with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) (WR), whose comprehension was at chance on active sentences, but at ceiling on passives. In a series of reversible sentence comprehension tests WR displayed difficulties with active transitives and truncated actives with an auxiliary. In passive sentences, he displayed sensitivity to the agent marker by, as well as the passive morphology of the verb. This pattern of dissociation challenges current theories of agrammatic comprehension. We explore explanations based on the distinction between morphological and configurational cues, as well as on the semantic and discourse related differences between active and passive constructions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-18
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


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