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Neural Networks Supporting Phoneme Monitoring Are Modulated by Phonology but Not Lexicality or Iconicity: Evidence From British and Swedish Sign Language
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research.
UCL, England; Univ Crete, Greece.
UCL, England; Saarland Univ, Germany.
Not Found:Linkoping Univ, Dept Behav Sci and Learning, Linnaeus Ctr HEAD, Swedish Inst Disabil Res, Linkoping, Sweden; UCL, England; Univ East Anglia, England.
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2019 (English)In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5161, E-ISSN 1662-5161, Vol. 13, article id 374Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sign languages are natural languages in the visual domain. Because they lack a written form, they provide a sharper tool than spoken languages for investigating lexicality effects which may be confounded by orthographic processing. In a previous study, we showed that the neural networks supporting phoneme monitoring in deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users are modulated by phonology but not lexicality or iconicity. In the present study, we investigated whether this pattern generalizes to deaf Swedish Sign Language (SSL) users. British and SSLs have a largely overlapping phoneme inventory but are mutually unintelligible because lexical overlap is small. This is important because it means that even when signs lexicalized in BSL are unintelligible to users of SSL they are usually still phonologically acceptable. During fMRI scanning, deaf users of the two different sign languages monitored signs that were lexicalized in either one or both of those languages for phonologically contrastive elements. Neural activation patterns relating to different linguistic levels of processing were similar across SLs; in particular, we found no effect of lexicality, supporting the notion that apparent lexicality effects on sublexical processing of speech may be driven by orthographic strategies. As expected, we found an effect of phonology but not iconicity. Further, there was a difference in neural activation between the two groups in a motion-processing region of the left occipital cortex, possibly driven by cultural differences, such as education. Importantly, this difference was not modulated by the linguistic characteristics of the material, underscoring the robustness of the neural activation patterns relating to different linguistic levels of processing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
FRONTIERS MEDIA SA , 2019. Vol. 13, article id 374
Keywords [en]
sign language; lexicality; iconicity; semantics; phonology; language processing
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162070DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00374ISI: 000494813900001PubMedID: 31695602OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-162070DiVA, id: diva2:1371333
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences [P2008-0481:1-E]; Swedish Council for Working Life and Social ResearchSwedish Research CouncilSwedish Research Council for Health Working Life & Welfare (Forte) [2008-0846]; Linnaeus Centre HEAD grant from the Swedish Research Council; Economic and Social Research Council of Great BritainEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC) [RES-620-28-6001, RES-620-28-6002]

Available from: 2019-11-19 Created: 2019-11-19 Last updated: 2019-11-19

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