Structure in Language: Sentences

presented by Michael Dickey

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This course, with Dr. Michael Dickey, provides important background on the organization of language into sentences. The course begins by reviewing sentences as structured objects, including discussion of syntax versus semantics, Bock and Levelt’s model of sentence production, and mapping of grammatical categories onto the brain. From there, Dr. Dickey discusses the construction of simple and complex sentences, including the semantic roles that different sentence elements play, the stages at which semantic and syntactic features are encoded by speakers, and the types/families of con-canonical sentences. The course concludes with a panel discussion tying course concepts to clinical practice.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Michael Dickey, PhD

    Michael Dickey, PhD

    Michael Walsh Dickey's research centers on sentence comprehension and production in adults, the neural bases of these abilities, and their impairments in aphasia. His research also extends to measurement and prediction of treatment response in aphasia, focusing on psycholinguistically-motivated impairment-level behavioral treatment. In carrying out this work, he has examined complex sentence comprehension (ellipsis, wh-movement and garden-path sentences); verb-argument processing; tense and temporal interpretation; and both lexical-level and sentence-level aphasia treatment. His work uses behavioral methods (reading measures, reaction-time tasks, the visual-world paradigm), meta-analytic modelling (hierarchical linear modelling, logistic regression), and neuroimaging methods (structural neuroimaging; voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping) to explore these questions.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Creating and Understanding Sentences

    1. Creating and Understanding Sentences

    In the first chapter of this course, Dr. Dickey describes the basic hierarchical structure of sentences, and provides examples of the difference between syntactic structure (form) and semantic structure (meaning) of sentences.

  2. Simple Sentences

    2. Simple Sentences

    The second chapter of this chapter focuses on the structure of simple sentences, including the semantic roles that syntactic elements play, and the stages at which speakers encode semantic roles and syntactic features.

  3. Complex Sentences

    3. Complex Sentences

    This chapter expands on chapter two’s discussion of basic sentences to include more complex sentences. Dr. Dickey describes the different types/families of non-canonical sentences, and explains real-time processing of non-canonical sentences, and encoding/decoding of complex sentences.

  4. Q&A

    4. Q&A

    Dr. Dickey interviews two practicing SLPs to put course content into clinical context.