Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 339–347 | Cite as

For a New Look at ‘Lexical Errors’: Evidence from Semantic Approximations with Verbs in Aphasia

  • Karine DuvignauEmail author
  • Thi Mai Tran
  • Mélanie Manchon


The ability to understand the similarity between two phenomena is fundamental for humans. Designated by the term analogy in psychology, this ability plays a role in the categorization of phenomena in the world and in the organisation of the linguistic system. The use of analogy in language often results in non-standard utterances, particularly in speakers with aphasia. These non-standard utterances are almost always studied in a nominal context and considered as errors. We propose a study of the verbal lexicon and present findings that measure, by an action-video naming task, the importance of verb-based non-standard utterances made by 17 speakers with aphasia (“la dame déshabille l’orange”/the lady undresses the orange, “elle casse la tomate”/she breaks the tomato). The first results we have obtained allow us to consider these type of utterances from a new perspective: we propose to eliminate the label of “error”, suggesting that they may be viewed as semantic approximations based upon a relationship of inter-domain synonymy and are ingrained in the heart of the lexical system.


Aphasia Categorization Lexicon Semantic approximations Verbs 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barsalou, L. (1987). The instability of graded structure: Implications for the nature of concepts. In U. Neisser (dir.), Concepts and conceptual development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Barsalou, L. (1993). Flexibility, structure, and linguistic vagary in concepts. In A. F. Collins et al. (dir.), Theories of memory. London: Lawrence ErlbaumGoogle Scholar
  3. Bedny, M., & Caramazza, A. (2011). Perception, action and word meanings in the human brain: The case from action verbs. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
  4. Bormann T., Kulke F., Wallesch C.-W., Blanken G. (2008) Omissions and semantic errors in aphasic naming: Is there a link?. Brain and language 104(1): 124–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clark E. V. (1993) The lexicon in acquisition. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark E. V. (2003) First language acquisition. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  7. Cloutman L. L., Gottesman R., Chaudhry P., Davis C. L., Kleinman J. T., Pawlak M., Herskovits E., Kannan V. C., Lee A., Newhart M., Heidler-Gary J., Hillis A. E. (2009) Where (in the brain) do semantic errors come from?. Cortex 45(5): 641–649PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Deloche G. et al (1996) Picture confrontation oral naming: Performance differences between aphasics and normals. Brain and Language 53(1): 105–120PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Duvignau, K., Gaume, B., & Nespoulous, J.-L. (2004). Proximité sémantique et stratégies palliatives chez le jeune enfant et l’aphasique. In Parole J.-L. Nespoulous, & J. Virbel (Coord.) (Vol. 31–32, pp. 219–255). Belgium: UMHGoogle Scholar
  10. Duvignau, K., & Gaume B. (2005). Linguistic, Psycholinguistic and Computational Approaches to the Lexicon: For Early Verb-Learning. A special issue on ‘learning’. ESSCS Journal, Journal of the European Society for the study of cognitive systems. March, 6-2 (3), 255–269.Google Scholar
  11. Duvignau, K., Gaume, B., Pimenta, M.-A., & Elie, J. (2007). Semantic approximations and flexibility in the dynamic construction and “deconstruction” of meaning. Linguagem em Discurso 7(3). In H. Moura, J. Vieira & M. I. A Nardi (Eds.), Metaphor and Context (pp. 371–389).Google Scholar
  12. Gentner D. (1978) On relational meaning: The acquisition of verb meaning. Child Development 49: 988–998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gentner D. (1981) Some interesting differences between verbs and nouns. Cognition and Brain Theory 4(2): 161–177Google Scholar
  14. Gentner D., Boroditsky L. (2001) Individuation, relativity and early word learning. In: Bowerman M., Levinson S. (Eds.) Language acquisition and conceptual development. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 215–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goodglass H., Kaplan E. (1972) Boston diagnostic aphasia examination (BDAE). The Psychological Corporation, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Goodglass H., Wingfield A. (1997) Anomia: Neuronatomical and cognitive correlates. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  17. Hillis A. E., Heidler-Gary J., Newhart M., Chang S., Ken L., Bak T. (2006) Naming and comprehension in primary progressive aphasia: the influence of grammatical word class. Aphasiology 20: 246–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hodgson C., Lambon Ralph M.-A. (2008) Mimicking aphasic semantic errors in normal speech production: Evidence from a novel experimental paradigm. Brain and Language 104: 89–101PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hofstadter D. (1995) Fluid concepts and creative analogies. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Jakobson R. (1963) Essais de linguistique générale. Ruwet, MinuitGoogle Scholar
  21. Jakobson R. (1968) Child language, aphasia and phonological universals. Mouton, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  22. Jakobson R., Halle M. (1956) Fundamentals of language. La Haye, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  23. Kauschke C., Stenneken P. (2008) Differences in noun and verb processing in lexical decision cannot be attributed to word form and morphological complexity alone. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 37: 443–452PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kemmerer D. (2003) Why can you hit someone on the arm but not break someone on the arm? A neuropsychological investigation of the English bodypart prssessor ascension construction. Journal of Neurolinguistics 16: 13–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kemmerer D., Gonzalez-Castillo J. (2010) The two-level theory of verb meaning: An approach to integrating the semantics of action with the mirror neuron system. Brain and Language 112: 54–76PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kemmerer D., Tranel D. (2000) Verb retrieval inn brain-damaged subjects: Analysis of erros. Brain and Language 73: 393–420PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Khon S. E., Goodglass H. (1985) Picture naming in aphasia. Brain in Language 24: 266–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kim M., Thompson C. K. (2004) Verb deficits in Alzheimer’s disease and agrammatism: Implications for lexical organization. Brain and Language 88: 1–20PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kittredge A. K., Dell G. S., Schwartz M. F. (2006) Aphasic picture-naming errors reveal the influence of lexical variables on production stages. Brain in Language 99: 8–119Google Scholar
  30. Le Dorze G., Nespoulous J.-L. (1989) Anomia in moderate aphasia: Problems in accessing the lexical representation. Brain and Language 37: 381–400PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Liljeström M., Tarkiainen A., Parviainen T., Kujala J., Numminen J., Hiltunen J., Laine M., Salmelin R. (2008) Perceiving and naming actions and objects. NeuroImage 41(3): 1132–1141PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Piras F., Marangolo P. (2007) Noun-verb naming in aphasia: A voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping study. Neuroreport 18(14): 1455–1458PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Méligne D., Fossard M., Belliard S., Moreaud O., Duvignau K., Démonet J.-F. (2011) Verbs production during action naming in semantic dementia. Journal of Communication Disorders 44: 379–391PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Thompson C. K., Shapiro L. P., Kiran S., Sobecks J. (2003) The role of syntactic complexity in treatment of sentence deficits in agrammatic aphasia: The complexity account of treatment efficacy (CATE). Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 46: 591–607PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Raymer A. M., Ellsworth T. A. (2002) Response to contrasting verb treatments: A case study. Aphasiology 16: 1031–1045CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thompson C. K., Shapiro L. P. (2007) Syntactic complexity in treatment of sentence deficits. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 16: 30–42PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tomasello, M. (1992) First verbs: A case study of early grammatical development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Tomasello, M. (2003) Constructing a language. A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition, Harvard.Google Scholar
  39. Wambaugh J. L., Ferguson M. (2007) Application of semantic feature analysis to retrieval of action names in aphasia. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 44: 381–394PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wells-Jensen S. (2007) A cross-linguistic speech error investigation of functional complexity. Journal of psycholinguistic research 36(2): 107–157PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wunderlich D. (2006) Towards a structural typology of verb classes. In: Wunderlich D. (Ed.) Advances in the theory of the lexicon. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp 58–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karine Duvignau
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thi Mai Tran
    • 2
  • Mélanie Manchon
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire CLLE-ERSS, Maison de la RechercheUniversité Toulouse 2ToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire STLUniversité LilleLilleFrance
  3. 3.Laboratory for Cognitive and Neurological Sciences (LCNS), Neurology Department of MedicineUniversity of Fribourg & Hopital CantonalFribourgSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations