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THE USE OF ORTHOGRAPHIC STRUCTURE BY DEAF ADULTS



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THE USE OF ORTHOGRAPHIC STRUCTURE BY DEAF ADULTS SPELLED LETTERS RECOGNITION OF FINGER Vicki L Hanson Abstract Deaf adults I knowledge of English word structure was tested in a task requiring letter report for finger spelled words pseudowords and nonwords Deaf subjects like hearing subjects were sensitive to orthographic structure as indicated by accuracy of letter report Letters of words were reported most accurately while letters of pseudowords were reported more accurately than letters of nonwords Analysis of the incorrect letter reports for correctly recognized words revealed that deaf subjects tended to produce orthographically regular responses However in contrast to the reports of hearing subjects the responses of deaf subjects did not tend to be phonetically consistent with the presented word These results provide clear evidence that deaf adul ts are able to abstract principles of English orthography although the phonetically inconsistent letter reports suggest that the spelling process for deaf persons may be fundamentally different from that for hearing persons The present research examines the use of orthographic structure by prelingually and profoundly deaf adults The orthography of English reflects the phonological structure of the spoken language As a result segments of An earlier version of this paper was presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association Los Angeles August 1981 Acknowledgment I am grateful to many people for their help on this project First I would like to thank Carol Padden for making the stimulus tape I would also like to thank the people who made arrangements for facilities and subjects for the reported experiment and for pilot work Nancy Fishbein Nancy Frishberg Peg Hlibok Gary Scharff Dennis Schemenauer and Marie Taccogna The cooperation of the following organizations and institutions is gratefully acknowledged National Center on Deafness at California State University Northridge New York University New York



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