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date: 14 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The study of language processing by deaf individuals presents new opportunities to expand our understanding of core psycholinguistic principles that have traditionally been predicated on the studies of oral and written languages. While psycholinguistic studies of signed languages reveal familiar effects of lexicality, semantic- and form-based priming, increasingly, studies of signed languages have begun to explore properties that appear to be unique to signing, such as the effects of iconicity and the role of spatial processing of the sign language signal. Studies of alphabetic reading in deaf individuals who cannot fully access the sound forms of the language they read present challenges to existing models of reading. This chapter summarizes these phenomena and discusses the ways in which the psycholinguistic processing of spoken and signed language are similar and identifies points of divergence.

Keywords: sign language, deaf, lexicon, semantics, eye tracking, reading, bilingualism

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