Journal Article

The Role of Sign Phonology and Iconicity During Sign Processing: The Case of Deaf Children

Ellen Ormel, Daan Hermans, Harry Knoors and Ludo Verhoeven

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 14, issue 4, pages 436-448
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/deafed/enp021
The Role of Sign Phonology and Iconicity During Sign Processing: The Case of Deaf Children

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  • Education
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To investigate the influence of sign phonology and iconicity during sign processing in deaf children, the roles of these sign features were examined using an experimental sign–picture verification paradigm. Participants had to make decisions about sign–picture pairs, manipulated according to phonological sign features (i.e., hand shape, movement, and location) and iconic sign features (i.e., transparent depiction of meaning or not). We found that phonologically related sign pairs resulted in relatively longer response latencies and more errors whereas iconic sign pairs resulted in relatively shorter response latencies and fewer errors. The results showed that competing lexical sign candidates (neighbor signs) were activated during sign processing by deaf children. In addition, deaf children exploit the iconicity of signs during sign recognition.

Journal Article.  7539 words.  Illustrated.

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

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