Journal Article

Syntactic Movement in Orally Trained Children With Hearing Impairment

Naama Friedmann and Ronit Szterman

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 11, issue 1, pages 56-75
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online September 2005 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/deafed/enj002
Syntactic Movement in Orally Trained Children With Hearing Impairment

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This study explored the comprehension and production of sentences derived by syntactic movement, in orally trained school-age Hebrew-speaking children with moderate to profound hearing impairment, aged 7;8–9;9 years. Experiments 1 and 2 tested the comprehension of relative clauses and topicalization sentences (with word orders of OVS [object, verb, subject] and OSV [object, subject, verb]) using a sentence–picture matching task. Experiments 3 and 4 tested the production of relative clauses using two elicitation tasks. Experiment 5 tested the comprehension of relative clauses with and without resumptive pronouns. As a group, the children with hearing loss failed to understand object relatives and OVS topicalization sentences. In the production tasks they either avoided producing a sentence with syntactic movement, by using a relative clauses with a resumptive pronoun instead of a gap or by producing a sentence without a relative clause, or produced ungrammatical sentences. They understood correctly object relatives with resumptive pronouns, which are not derived by movement. Both comprehension and production of the hearing-impaired group was significantly different from that of the hearing control group. Individual performance was strongly correlated with the age of intervention: only children who received hearing aids before the age of 8 months performed well in the comprehension tasks. Type of hearing aid, duration of use of a cochlear implant, and degree of hearing loss did not correlate with syntactic comprehension.

Journal Article.  12087 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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