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On the comprehension of relative clauses in mild AD: The role of feature mismatch in the subject and object DPs

EasyChair Preprint no. 6481

3 pagesDate: August 30, 2021



Difficulties in the comprehension of object relative clauses (ORCs) in people with acquired language deficits have been discussed within the Relativized Minimality (RM) approach (Rizzi, 1990). ORCs are hard to comprehend when the moved and the intervening subject DP carry similar φ-features, whereas mismatch in φ-features facilitates comprehension (Grillo, 2009). It has been argued that only features that trigger syntactic movement count in the computation of minimality (Friedmann et al., 2017). This study aims to test the RM approach in mild Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) by experimentally manipulating syntactically active φ-features (i.e. number in Greek) and lexical-semantic φ-features (i.e. gender in Greek) in the comprehension of ORCs.


Twenty-seven Greek-speaking individuals with mild AD and 27 age- and education-matched healthy adults were administered an off-line sentence comprehension task that manipulated number x gender.


Participants with AD showed an interaction between number and gender (F(1,26)=17,196, p=.000, ηp2=.398) and a significant main effect of number (F(1,26)=10,506, p=.003, ηp2=.288). Better performance was observed in sentences with number mismatch and gender match. Gender mismatch was worse in sentences with number mismatch.


Features triggering syntactic movement (i.e. number in Greek) are accessible to individuals with mild AD. However, individuals with mild AD present an impairment in lexical features like gender.

Keyphrases: Alzheimer, comprehension, phi-features, syntax

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Dimitra Arfani and Kyrana Tsapkini and Spyridoula Varlokosta},
  title = {On the comprehension of relative clauses in mild AD: The role of feature mismatch in the subject and object DPs},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 6481},

  year = {EasyChair, 2021}}
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