What is the source of bilingual cross-language activation in deaf bilinguals?

Jill P. Morford, Corrine Occhino, Megan Zirnstein, Judith F. Kroll, Erin Wilkinson, Pilar Piñar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-365
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Speech and Hearing


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