Syntactic and semantic processing in Hebrew readers with prelingual deafness

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The experimenter investigated the effect of semantic clues on the reading comprehension of deaf and hearing Israeli children. Two groups of students with prelingual deafness, and a hearing control group, were asked to read syntactically simple and syntactically relative sentences of varying semantic plausibility. Sixteen of the participants who were deaf (mean grade 6.9) had been trained orally, using spoken language as their principal means of communication at home and at school. Another 16 students with deafness (mean grade 6.9), all of them children of deaf parents, had acquired sign language as their primary language. The mean grade of the hearing control group was 6.5. The results suggest that, in contrast to the case with hearing individuals, reading comprehension in individuals with prelingually acquired deafness, regardless of communication background, is predominantly determined by the semantic processing of content words, with only minor attention given to the processing of the syntactic structure of the text.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-448
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Annals of the Deaf
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Speech and Hearing


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