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Reading ability in adult deaf native signers is positively associated with their ability to judge the grammatically of their native sign language
Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (HEAD)
Department of Psychology, University of Crete, Greece.
Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre, University College London, UK.
School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK.
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2012 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

For deaf native sign language users, learning to read means acquiring a second language. With limited access to the phonology of spoken language, it is difficult to establish the connection to orthography, which is a key to reading for hearing individuals. For hearing individuals, reading ability is often associated with working memory capacity (WMC) and phonological processing abilities (PPA). However, this association is not as clear-cut for deaf individuals, whose reading ability is usually poorer and who may have a different route to reading. In the present study we compared English reading skill (Vernon-Warden Reading Comprehension Test Revised, 1996) in adult deaf native users of British Sign Language (BSL, n=24) with hearing, non-signing native English speakers (n=24) matched for age and non-verbal intelligence. We also explored the association between reading level, PPA and WMC in both groups and between reading level and performance on the BSL Grammaticality Judgement Task (BSLGJT; Cormier et al., 2012) in deaf signers. Consistent with previous findings, the average reading level was lower for deaf signers than for hearing non-signers (mean reading age: 16 years vs. adult, respectively) and, for hearing non-signers, reading level was positively associated with WMC and PPA. In contrast, for deaf signers, we found no association between reading skill and WMC, English PPA or BSL PPA; instead, reading level was positively associated with BSLGJT performance. These novel findings suggest that, in deaf native signers, higher level sign language skills, such as grammatical knowledge, may provide a route to reading.

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URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80291OAI: diva2:546426
Neurobiology of Language conference in San Sebastian, October 25-27, 2012
Available from: 2012-08-23 Created: 2012-08-23 Last updated: 2012-08-30

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Rudner, MaryRönnberg, Jerker
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The Swedish Institute for Disability ResearchDisability ResearchFaculty of Arts and Sciences

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