Center Papers

Kubus, Villwock, Morford & Rathmann (2014)

Kubuş, O., Villwock, A., Morford, J. P., & Rathmann, C. (2014). Word recognition in deaf readers: Cross-language activation of German Sign Language and German. Applied Psycholinguistics, doi:10.1017/S0142716413000520. ____________________________________________________________________________________________

This study addressed visual word recognition in deaf bilinguals who are proficient in German Sign Language (DGS) and German. The study specifically investigated whether DGS signs are activated during a monolingual German word recognition task despite the lack of similarity in German orthographic representations and DGS phonological representations. Deaf DGS–German bilinguals saw pairs of German words and decided whether the words were semantically related. Half of the experimental items had phonologically related translation equivalents in DGS. Participants were slower to reject semantically unrelated word pairs when the translation equivalents were phonologically related in DGS than when the DGS translations were phonologically unrelated. However, this was not the case in Turkish–German hearing bilinguals who do not have sign language knowledge. The results indicate that lexical representations are associated cross-linguistically in the bilingual lexicon irrespective of their orthographic or phonological form. Implications of these results for reading development in deaf German bilinguals are discussed.