The Effect of Language Experience

loml

New Member
Variability in Deaf Children's Spelling: The Effect of Language Experience

Leybaert, Jacqueline; Lechat, Josiane

Abstract

French-speaking hearing and deaf children, ranging in age from 6 years 10 months to 14 years 7 months were required to spell words including phoneme-to-grapheme correspondences that were either statistically dominant or nondominant. Of interest was whether the nature of linguistic experience (cued speech vs. sign language) and the precocity of such experience (early vs. late exposure) determines accuracy in the use of phoneme-to-grapheme knowledge. Cued speech is a system delivering phonemically augmented speechreading through the visual modality. Hearing and deaf children exposed to cued speech early at home relied on accurate phoneme-to-grapheme correspondences, whereas children exposed to cued speech later and at school only, and children exposed to sign language, did not. A critical factor in the development of the phonological route for spelling seems to be early and intensive exposure to a system making all phonological distinctions easily perceivable.



Discussion

Our experiment was designed to investigate the possible influences of deaf children's nature and precocity of linguistic experience on the use of phoneme-to-grapheme relationships. We hypothesized that exposure to CS entails a use of accurate phoneme-to-grapheme relationships, all the more so because exposure is early and intensive. The effect of grapheme dominance and the interaction between the effect of grapheme dominance and word frequency should be more marked in groups of CS-home children than in groups of CS-school, SL-home, and SL-school children. The majority of spelling errors should be phonologically accurate in CS-home groups as in hearing children.

In line with our predictions, only the hearing children and the CS-home children exhibited a significant effect of dominance and a significant interaction between dominance and word frequency. Dominant graphemes were better spelled than nondominant graphemes, and the effect of dominance was larger for low frequency words than for medium or high frequency words. As predicted also, the CS-home children and the hearing children made a high and similar proportion of phonologically accurate errors. When required to spell a word for which they do not have a fully detailed orthographic representation, hearing and CS-home children start from accurate phonological representations (Charlier & Leybaert, 2000), and apply dominant correspondences between phonemes and graphemes.

Early acquisition of a natural language and language having the phonological structure of the spoken language are thus necessary conditions for the development of accurate use of phoneme-to-grapheme relationships. The fact of learning a language early in life cannot explain our results on its own, because SL-home children did not achieve a larger effect of grapheme dominance than SL-school children. Exposure to CS is also in itself insufficient to explain our results, as the CS-home children differed from the CS-school children. CS-home children also have a fairly sophisticated knowledge of the relations between phonemes and graphemes in French, as hearing children do. They knew that the phonemes have more than one possible spelling, and that one spelling is more common than others. The development of a spelling system sensitive to the statistical relationship between phonemes and graphemes is not precluded in the case of prelingual and profound deafness. It can be promoted by exposure to visual speech information, provided that all phonological distinctions can be easily perceived.

The CS-school, SL-home, and SL-school children performed differently in spelling than did the CS-home and hearing children. First, they displayed a similar effect of frequency on dominant and nondominant graphemes. Second, they made fewer phonologically accurate misspellings, indicating a lower ability to use accurate phoneme-to-grapheme mappings. Their performance may result from inaccuracy at the level of phonological representations, deficiency in segmentation of these representations, or a difficulty in attributing graphemes to phonemes. CS-school children and children educated with SL have underspecified representation of phonology in previous work (Charlier & Leybaert, 2000). Inaccuracy of their phonological representations hinders these children in applying phoneme-to-grapheme correspondences in the present study. Possibly, they need more exposure to print in order to acquire correct spelling for dominant as well as for nondominant graphemes.

It must be borne in mind that deaf children's phonologically accurate responses likely do not constitute the only attempts to represent the word's phonemes. As discussed by Treiman (1983) in the case of hearing first grade spellers, many phonologically inaccurate errors are almost surely attempts to represent the word's phonology. A similar argument was developed about deaf children: Errors that are illegal in relation to the conventional phonological representation of hearing adults, may not be illegal when deaf children's unconventional representations of phonology are considered (Burden & Campbell, 1994; Leybaert & Alegria, 1995). Attempts to generate spellings from unconventional phonological forms likely explained misspellings like “tirop” for sirop and “douvercle” for couvercle observed here. The children symbolized one phoneme (for example /s/ or /k/) with a letter (t or d) that is used for a phoneme articulated at the same, or at a near, place. These errors could reflect phonological processes rather than visual memorization.

The groups also differentiate in the number of word substitution errors. SL-home and SL-school groups made more such word errors than the hearing, the CS-home, and the CS-school children. The words they gave as responses were visually similar to the targets, in nearly all the cases (e.g., “villa,” “ville,” or “village” for vilain; “moule” for moulin). That is, there was a difficulty in the selection among the visually similar orthographic representations. The spelling production system of SL-children seems more governed by orthographic knowledge (Perfetti & Sandak, 2000). Interestingly, such errors were also found in hearing phonological dyslexics whose spelling is little constrained by phonology (Broom & Doctor, 1995). Accurate phonological representations thus constrain the possible patterns used to spell a word, and, consequently, make easier the selection of the conventional spelling.

An additional result of our study is that the groups did not differ regarding the proportion of orthographically illegal errors. Perhaps deaf children acquire a sensitivity to the principles of orthographic legality through a visual analysis of the word spellings (Padden, 1993), independently of their phonological abilities. This point obviously needs further research relying on specific experimental situations.

Could the differences between the groups result from some other, noncontrolled variable, rather than from the linguistic input? The groups of deaf children also differ in (a) amount of mainstreaming in regular schools; (b) hearing status of the parents and, more generally, possible differences between parents' attitude toward reading; and (c) chronological age. Although these factors certainly influence deaf children's cognitive development (Marschark, 1993), they do not seem sufficient to explain our findings. The school background may affect the results because teaching methods could be different in regular schools and in special schools for the deaf, and because the cognitive profiles of children entering these two types of schools could differ. However, the control of school background in a previous study did not change the general pattern of the results, at least for the comparison between CS-home and CS-school children (Leybaert, 2000). Our results also seem independent of parental deafness. The two groups of children educated with sign language achieved similar results, despite the fact that the parents of the SL-home children were deaf and most of the parents of the SL-school children were hearing. And the two groups of children educated with CS achieved different results despite the fact that most of the parents of these children were hearing. The parents of the CS-home children are perhaps more concerned with language acquisition and reading achievement than the parents of the other children. This could explain why the CS-home children reached a reading level appropriate for their chronological age, whereas the other deaf children were reading-delayed. However, differences in parents' attitudes toward reading cannot explain that CS-home children use more phoneme-to-grapheme relationships than other deaf children matched for word recognition level. Finally, could the results of the hearing and CS-home younger groups be explained by a lesser exposure to print because of their younger chronological age? Compared to older children of the CS-home and hearing groups, younger children reached lower performances for nondominant graphemes, especially in the case of low frequency words, which attests that their orthographic lexicon is less developed. They thus made more phonologically accurate errors than the older children. However, the data of the older CS-home and hearing children differed from those of the chronological age-matched CS-school, SL-home, and SL-school groups. With older CS-home and hearing children, there was an interaction between dominance and frequency; there was no corresponding interaction for CS-home, SL-home, and SL-school groups. In addition, a majority of errors were phonologically accurate in the older CS-home and hearing groups, but phonologically inaccurate in the CS-home, SL-home, and SL-school groups.

It thus seems reasonable to conclude that the spelling by deaf children is phonologically guided, to various extents, depending on their language experience. A critical condition ensuring adequate spelling development seems to be early and intensive exposure to a system that makes all phonological distinctions of spoken language visually accessible. A late and less intensive exposure to systems like CS does not have the same effect on the use of phoneme-to-grapheme correspondences. Finally, the early advantage in language development displayed by deaf children born to deaf parents over deaf children from hearing parents, does not induce a larger use of phonology-to-orthography mappings. Possibly, there is a “missing link” between this early language experience and reading acquisition (Padden & Hanson, 1999).

Providing deaf children with inputs that could serve as a principled way of remembering the word spelling, such as CS or fingerspelling, could improve their spelling abilities (Hanson et al., 1983; Padden & Ramsey, 2000). This is not contradictory to the use of sign language as a primary language. Early experience with fingerspelling or CS may allow the development of metaphonological awareness before, or in interaction with, reading. We plan to test this hypothesis by studying deaf children who have a SL as primary language and who benefited from acquiring French, English, or any other traditionally spoken language via CS before they started learning to read. We would expect that the spelling by such children could be phonologically guided as is the spelling by hearing or CS-home children. The study of the development of metaphonological skills, reading and spelling, of profoundly, prelingually deaf children fitted with a cochlear implant is also on the agenda. The information provided by the implant could interact with that perceived through lip-reading and CS to set the stage for the development of phonological awareness.

In sum, the reading and spelling difficulties of deaf children are long-lasting problems. Our research demonstrates that access to an input providing information about phonological contrasts is the critical question rather than deafness per se.

Journal of Educational Psychology

(C) 2001 by the American Psychological Association

Volume 93(3), September 2001, p 554-562
 

fredfam1

New Member
Does any one know what the ASL equivilant to a phoneme
and a grapheme would be?

Now I'm not a student of linguistics, but this seems to me to
be the same thing as if two space aliens were useing their
language, (a system of body odors) to determine if humans
could be trained to use their few body odors and burps to
communicate with them. "Excuse me sir but that human
could communicate a lot better if maybe we emitted 1
pungent odor when their burps were sent in the correct
fragrence and two pungent odors when their odors from
the other end were correct. We could teach their parents
to emit the proper sequence of pungent odors. Maybe we
could augment that with a few vocalizations to help train
them. Poor creatures. How can they possibly develop to
their full capacitiy with such a limited repotior of fragrences?"
We MUST train them from birth befor their own culture
trains them to emit fewer and fewer body odors. We will
call this OOM! That stands for Odorisum Only Method! We will
be nominated for alien sainthood!"
 

jillio

New Member
Does any one know what the ASL equivilant to a phoneme
and a grapheme would be?

Now I'm not a student of linguistics, but this seems to me to
be the same thing as if two space aliens were useing their
language, (a system of body odors) to determine if humans
could be trained to use their few body odors and burps to
communicate with them. "Excuse me sir but that human
could communicate a lot better if maybe we emitted 1
pungent odor when their burps were sent in the correct
fragrence and two pungent odors when their odors from
the other end were correct. We could teach their parents
to emit the proper sequence of pungent odors. Maybe we
could augment that with a few vocalizations to help train
them. Poor creatures. How can they possibly develop to
their full capacitiy with such a limited repotior of fragrences?"
We MUST train them from birth befor their own culture
trains them to emit fewer and fewer body odors. We will
call this OOM! That stands for Odorisum Only Method! We will
be nominated for alien sainthood!"
A phoneme would be handshape....a morpheme would be handsahpe combined with placement and movement to represent the concept.
 

fredfam1

New Member
So if I signed a C hand shape thats a phoneme equivilant?
And a C shape in a rotating motion with me smelling whats
in it appreciatively, (indicating an aromatic hot cup of coffee)
would be a morpheme?
 

jillio

New Member
So if I signed a C hand shape thats a phoneme equivilant?
And a C shape in a rotating motion with me smelling whats
in it appreciatively, (indicating an aromatic hot cup of coffee)
would be a morpheme?
You got it! The handshape is the phomeme because it is the smallest component of languge that make the concept represented meaningful. Then the rotating motion, and the smelling appreciatively are both morphemes, as they further define the phoneme as concept.
 

loml

New Member
Selling Ice to an Alaskan

So if I signed a C hand shape thats a phoneme equivilant?
And a C shape in a rotating motion with me smelling whats
in it appreciatively, (indicating an aromatic hot cup of coffee)
would be a morpheme?
pho·neme /ˈfoʊnim/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[foh-neem] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun Linguistics. any of a small set of units, usually about 20 to 60 in number, and different for each language, considered to be the basic distinctive units of speech sound by which morphemes, words, and sentences are represented. They are arrived at for any given language by determining which differences in sound function to indicate a difference in meaning, so that in English the difference in sound and meaning between pit and bit is taken to indicate the existence of different labial phonemes, while the difference in sound between the unaspirated p of spun and the aspirated p of pun, since it is never the only distinguishing feature between two different words, is not taken as ground for setting up two different p phonemes in English


mor·pheme /ˈmɔrfim/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mawr-feem] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun Linguistics. any of the minimal grammatical units of a language, each constituting a word or meaningful part of a word, that cannot be divided into smaller independent grammatical parts, as the, write, or the -ed of waited. Compare allomorph (def. 2), morph (def. 1).
www://dictionary.reference.com


ASL absorbing spoken language terminology. :cool:
 

jillio

New Member
www://dictionary.reference.com


ASL absorbing spoken language terminology. :cool:
She asked for the ASL equivilent. Morpheme and phoneme are not specific to spoken langauge. They are linguistic terms and can easily be applied to any form of language, including manual langauges.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
She asked for the ASL equivilent. Morpheme and phoneme are not specific to spoken langauge. They are linguistic terms and can easily be applied to any form of language, including manual langauges.
That was the exact same thing I learned in my linguistics classes. We had to take one that targeted ASL only and then another one that targeted English only. Was very confusing at the time but now that I am reading this thread, it is coming back to me and makes more sense now. :giggle:
 

Buffalo

Active Member
Does any one know what the ASL equivilant to a phoneme
and a grapheme would be?

Now I'm not a student of linguistics, but this seems to me to
be the same thing as if two space aliens were useing their
language, (a system of body odors) to determine if humans
could be trained to use their few body odors and burps to
communicate with them. "Excuse me sir but that human
could communicate a lot better if maybe we emitted 1
pungent odor when their burps were sent in the correct
fragrence and two pungent odors when their odors from
the other end were correct. We could teach their parents
to emit the proper sequence of pungent odors. Maybe we
could augment that with a few vocalizations to help train
them. Poor creatures. How can they possibly develop to
their full capacitiy with such a limited repotior of fragrences?"
We MUST train them from birth befor their own culture
trains them to emit fewer and fewer body odors. We will
call this OOM! That stands for Odorisum Only Method! We will
be nominated for alien sainthood!"
:rofl: We would flunk easily. *cough!* *cough!*
 
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