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David Caplan

David Caplan is Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Communication at Boston University, Associate Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT.

Titles by This Author

Structure, Processing, and Disorders

This theoretical guide for speech-language pathologists, neuropsychologists, neurologists, and cognitive psychologists describes the linguistic and psycholinguistic basis of aphasias that are a result of acquired neurological disease. Caplan first outlines contemporary concepts and models in language processing and then shows in detail how these are related to language disorders. Chapters are organized around basic linguistic processes such as spoken word recognition, semantics, spoken word production, reading and writing of single words, and more complex processes such as sentence production and discourse structures.

Caplan's summary of the major concepts and results in both linguistics and psycholinguistics provides a solid basis for understanding current studies of language disorders as well as those likely to be discussed in the future. Considerable emphasis is placed on studies of language processing that measure what representations a subject is computing while he or she is in the middle of accomplishing a language-related task. These "on-line" studies provide the most reliable guide to the nature of many psycholinguistic processes. Throughout the book, Caplan's goal is to present material at an introductory level so that readers can become informed about the work of linguistically and psycholinguistically oriented researchers who study normal and disordered language and put this work to use in clinical practice.

On the basis of a decade's work on syntactic-comprehension disorders, primarily in the Neurolinguistics Laboratory of the Montreal Neurological Hospital, David Caplan and Nancy Hildebrandt present an original theory of these disturbances of language function. They suggest in this wide-ranging study that syntactic structure breaks down after damage to the brain because of specific impairments in the parsing processes and a general decrease in the amount of computational space that can be devoted to that function.

Disorders of Syntactic Comprehension includes detailed single-case analyses and large-group studies, as well as a broad review of the literature on aphasia. It also provides introductions to syntactic structures and parsing for the reader unfamiliar with these subjects. It develops a general framework for viewing disorders in this area and for identifying a number of specific aspects of the breakdown of syntactic comprehension.

The authors' richly detailed empirical linguistic database and their careful use of experimental materials enable them to bring the results of their research to bear on several aspects of theories of syntactic structure (Chomsky's theory) and parsing (the Berwick-Weinberg parser) and to use these theories to describe and explain aphasic phenomena. Moreover, the combination of population and group studies allows them to investigate the neurological basis of syntactic disorders in addition to the psychological and linguistic aspects.

Disorders of Syntactic Comprehension is included in the series Issues in the Biology of Language and Cognition, edited by John C. Marshall.

Titles by This Editor

Edited by David Caplan

These contributions by well-known linguists, psychologists, and neuroscientists explore the new concepts and themes that extend and revise previously held ideas about the biology of cognition. They present outstanding and timely research on the biological mechanisms underlying and correlating with linguistic and developmental processes.

The fifteen chapters consider cognitive systems, particularly language, as biological entities. These systems are studied according to a model that makes use of three levels of description: the level of phenomena, including a representation of a domain of knowledge and a theory of utilization of this knowledge; the neural level, characterized by anatomical, biochemical, physiological, and other organic information; and the genetic level, describing the hereditarily transmitted constraints on neural and phenomenological function. In each of these domains environmental and intrinsic factors interact to determine the system's operation.

Contents: Preface; Part I, Studies of the Maturational Component of Cognitive Development: Maturational Factors in Human Development, Susan Carey; Maturation: Thoughts on Renewing an Old Acquaintanceship, Deborah P. Waber; Some Functional Correlates of the Maturation of Neural Systems, David Rose; The Development of a Spatial Orientation Skill in Normal, Learning-Disabled, and Neurologically Impaired Children, Martha Bridge Denckla, Rita G. Rudel, and Melinda Broman; Maturational Determination of the Developmental Course of Face Encoding, Susan Carey and Rhea Diamond.

Part II, Studies of Language Development: Linguistic Perspectives on Language Development, David Caplan and Noam Chomsky; On the Biology of Language Acquisition, John C. Marshall; Observations on the Neurological Basis for Initial Language Acquisition, Bryan T. Woods; Language Acquisition in a Single Hemisphere: Semantic Organization, Maureen Dennis; Broca and Lashley Were Right: Cerebral Dominance Is an Accident of Growth, T. G. Beyer.

Part III, Studies of Neural Mechanisms Underlying Language in the Adult: Changing Models of the Neuropsychology of Language, David Caplan; Grammatical Representations and the Description of Language Processing, Mary Louise Kean; Syntactic Deficits in Broca's Aphasia, Dianne C. Bradley, Merrill F. Garrett, and Edgar B. Zurif; Brain Structure and Language Production: A Dynamic View, Jason W. Brown; Some Comments on the Neurology of Language, Norman Geschwind. Index.