When deaf bilinguals are asked to make semantic similarity judgments of two written words, their responses are influenced by the sublexical relationship of the signed language translations of the target words. This study investigated whether the observed effects of American Sign Language (ASL) activation on English print depend on (a) an overlap in syllabic structure of the signed translations or (b) on initialization, an effect of contact between ASL and English that has resulted in a direct representation of English orthographic features in ASL sublexical form. Results demonstrate that neither of these conditions is required or enhances effects of cross-language activation. The experimental outcomes indicate that deaf bilinguals discover the optimal mapping between their two languages in a manner that is not constrained by privileged sublexical associations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Speech and Hearing