Relative clause production in Basque-Spanish bilinguals with aphasia: material testing in a control group
Loidi Labandibar, Udane
Research on the comprehesion of relative clauses (RCs) in participants with agrammatism has revealed that although this population encounters difficulties with momevent-derived constructions in general, subject relatives (SRs) are comprehended more accurately than object relatives (ORs). Research on production, on the other hand, has shown quite consistently that the production of RCs and other structures involving the CP node is impaired in aphasia. However, some recent findings in V-2 movement and interrogative sentences suggest that the inaccessibility to the higher nodes of the tree may not be as robust as it was thought. Regarding bilinguals, several studies on bilingual aphasia have revealed that disorders do not necessarily affect all the languages to the same extent. The aim of the present study is to test the validity of some RC elicitation material with the objective of later using it with Basque-Spanish aphasics to shed light upon their syntactic deficiencies. To that aim, the production of RCs in two groups of unimpaired bilinguals (L1 Basque-early L2 Spanish, and L1 Spanish-early L2 Basque) has been explored in Basque and Spanish1. The study reveals a better performance in the production of SRs in both groups and languages. Data also points towards an asymmetry in the production of Basque ORs between the Basque and Spanish L1 groups, the former outperforming the latter. In view of the fact that the abscence of the ergative marker is the most frequent error, particularly among Spanish native speakers, we suggest that the divergent case systems of both languages, in general, and the ergative nature of Basque, in particular, could be the responsible for the mentioned asymmetries. Finally, the results indicate that the material used is appropriate to assess the production of RCs, although some remodelling could be done to decrease the number of ambiguous responses.