Elicitation of specific syntactic structures in primary progressive aphasia

Jessica DeLeon, Benno Gesierich, Max Besbris, Jennifer Ogar, Maya L. Henry, Bruce L. Miller, Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini, Stephen M. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Many patients with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) are impaired in syntactic production. Because most previous studies of expressive syntax in PPA have relied on quantitative analysis of connected speech samples, which is a relatively unconstrained task, it is not well understood which specific syntactic structures are most challenging for these patients. We used an elicited syntactic production task to identify which syntactic structures pose difficulties for 31 patients with three variants of PPA: non-fluent/agrammatic, semantic and logopenic. Neurodegenerative and healthy age-matched participants were included as controls. As expected, non-fluent/agrammatic patients made the most syntactic errors. The structures that resulted in the most errors were constructions involving third person singular present agreement, and constructions involving embedded clauses. Deficits on this elicited production task were associated with atrophy of the left posterior inferior frontal gyrus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Primary progressive aphasia
  • Production
  • Syntax
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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