Journal Article

Phonological Representations in Deaf Children: Rethinking the “Functional Equivalence” Hypothesis

Lynn McQuarrie and Rauno Parrila

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 14, issue 2, pages 137-154
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online July 2008 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/deafed/enn025
Phonological Representations in Deaf Children: Rethinking the “Functional Equivalence” Hypothesis

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The sources of knowledge that individuals use to make similarity judgments between words are thought to tap underlying phonological representations. We examined the effects of perceptual similarity between stimuli on deaf childrens' ability to make judgments about the phonological similarity between words at 3 levels of linguistic structure (syllable, rhyme, and phoneme). Manipulation of stimulus contrasts (acoustic, visual/orthographic, tactile/motoric) allowed a finer-grained estimate of the sources of knowledge that deaf individuals use to make similarity judgments between words. The results showed that the ability to make syllable-, rhyme-, and phoneme-level judgments was not tied to “phonological” facilitation when these conditions are contrasted. These findings are inconsistent with long-held assumptions of “functional” equivalence between “heard” and “seen” speech in the development of phonological representations in deaf learners. We argue that previous studies reporting evidence for phonological effects in similarity judgments have failed to sufficiently control for alternative sources of sensory information, namely, visual and tactile/motoric.

Journal Article.  10619 words. 

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

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