The Role of Syntactic Head and Constituent Position in Processing Root Compound Nouns: Evidence from People with Broca Aphasia

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Farhangiyan University, Department of Language and Literature, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor of Allame Tabataba'i University, Department of Linguistics, Tehran, Iran.


This study investigates the way head initial and head final root compound nouns comprising of noun-noun constituents are processed. It also investigates the role of their syntactic head and constituent position in processing through confrontation naming and auditory repetition tasks in people with Broca aphasia. Three people with Broca aphasia (two men and one woman) named the pictures in the naming task while confronting with them and they repeated the simple and compound nouns after hearing them in the repetition task. The stimuli include 40 nouns (20 simple and 20 compounds) and their black and white related drawing pictures. Nonparametric Kruskal Wallis H. Test showed that statistically there was no significant difference between the ranks of patients' errors in naming and repeating compound nouns, while there was a significant difference between the error patterns of initial, final and both constituents (the whole compound) in naming task and also between the error patterns of the constituents in repetition. Mann-Whitney U test showed that there was no significant difference between the naming errors of head initial and head final compound nouns as well as their repetition errors. The significant difference between the mean rank of naming simple and compound nouns as well as the repetition of simple and compound nouns showed the role of word structure in processing. The errors of head initial and head final root compound nouns and their patterns showed that syntactic head plays no role in naming and repetition processing of head initial and head final root compound nouns while the constituent position has a role in their naming and repetition. Moreover, the processing of head initial root compound nouns is different from head final ones. Naming and repetition processes of head initial and head final root compound nouns in Persian are also processed through the dual routes.


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Volume 11, Issue 2
February 2021
Pages 121-145
  • Receive Date: 22 March 2020
  • Revise Date: 04 May 2020
  • Accept Date: 22 June 2020
  • First Publish Date: 20 January 2021