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Language impairments in the development of sign: Do they reside in a specific modality or are they modality-independent deficits?

Woll, B. and Morgan, G. (2012). Language impairments in the development of sign: Do they reside in a specific modality or are they modality-independent deficits?. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15(1), pp. 75-87. doi: 10.1017/S1366728911000459

Abstract

Various theories of developmental language impairments have sought to explain these impairments in modality-specific ways – for example, that the language deficits in SLI or Down syndrome arise from impairments in auditory processing. Studies of signers with language impairments, especially those who are bilingual in a spoken language as well as a sign language, provide a unique opportunity to contrast abilities across language in two modalities (cross-modal bilingualism). The aim of the article is to examine what developmental sign language impairments can tell us about the relationship between language impairments and modality. A series of individual and small group studies are presented here illustrating language impairments in sign language users and cross-modal bilinguals, comprising Landau-Kleffner syndrome, Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, Autism and SLI. We conclude by suggesting how studies of sign language impairments can assist researchers to explore how different language impairments originate from different parts of the cognitive, linguistic and perceptual systems.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Cambridge Journals 2012. This version may have been revised following peer review but may be subject to further editorial input by Cambridge University Press.
Publisher Keywords: sign language; modality; language impairments
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Language & Communication Science
Related URLs:
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/5573
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