The mental representation of Verb–Noun compounds in Italian: Evidence from a multiple single-case study in aphasia

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Abstract

This study seeks information on the mental representation of Verb–Noun (VN) nominal compounds through neuropsychological methods. The lexical retrieval of compound nouns is tested in 30 aphasic patients using a visual confrontation naming task. The target names are VN compounds, Noun–Noun (NN) compounds, and long morphologically simple nouns (LSN). In order to check the ability to produce simple nouns and verbs in the same participants, a further visual confrontation naming task of objects and actions is used. Results of the study confirm that several patients with disproportionate verb deficit are also impaired in naming VN compounds. Data are in favor of a (de)compositional processing of compound words. A further group of patients is selectively more impaired with compound nouns than with comparably long simple nouns, irrespective of their VN or NN morphological structure. It is suggested that this impairment is to be ascribed to a specific disorder in retrieving two different lexemes with a single lexical entry.

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