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Psycholinguistics, Primary

  • By: Robin Thompson
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Psycholinguistics is the study of the psychological processes involved in language use: how we produce and comprehend language, how we store and represent language, and how language interacts with the rest of cognition. Our current understanding of these processes is tied predominantly to spoken languages, with much to be gained from the unique perspective signed languages offer. Psycholinguistic research of sign languages informs us about processes specific to the visual-manual modality and processes that are modality independent and general across both signed and spoken languages. The following discussion provides an overview of psycholinguistic research on sign languages, focusing on lexical-level representations and access and highlighting potential differences and similarities between sign language and spoken language processing.

Phonological-Level Processes

Signs are made up of phonological features in ...

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