Verb and Word order Deficits in Swahili-English Bilingual Agrammatic Speakers

Period: September 2009-August 2013

This project investigates the manifestation patterns of time reference and word order deficits associated with verbs in Swahili-English agrammatic speakers. The specific aim is to investigate whether, and to what extent, the two most influential linguistic theories of agrammatism, PADILIH and DOP-H, apply to bilingual agrammatic speakers of Swahili and English. While the PADILIH predicts impaired production and comprehension of sentences whether in base or derived word orders referring to past actions or events, the DOP-H predicts impaired production and comprehension of all sentences in derived word orders in agrammatic speakers irrespective of language. Although these theories have contributed substantially to our understanding of how language is processed in the brain of monolingual speakers with aphasia, little is known about how these theories apply to bilingual speakers with aphasia, especially bilingual speakers of two structurally different languages. This project investigates the predictions of these two theories for Swahili-English agrammatic speakers through a series of behavioral off-line testing techniques such as: spontaneous speech elicitation task, sentence completion task, and sentence-picture matching task. The project will consist of four experiments (two time reference experiments, and two word order experiments in Swahili and English) that will be conducted within a stipulated four-year period translating into a PhD Dissertation. The results will be analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively and comparisons made between the performances in the two languages under investigation. For statistical analysis, some non-parametric tests will be used.


Tom Abuom, MA
Prof. Dr. Roelien Bastiaanse


This project is funded by an Ubbo Emmius Fellowship