A Written Version of Sign Language can Enhance Signing Deaf Individuals’ Comprehension and Learning from Texts

Abstract

Deaf individuals have difficulties in comprehending written text, as well as oral language. As a consequence, learning from text is compromised in deaf individuals. We hypothesized that a transposition of the Italian Sign Language to its written counterpart could enhance signing deaf individuals’ comprehension and learning from text. We confirmed our prediction for comprehension and learning for technical texts in Experiment 1 and for narrative texts in Experiment 2; signing deaf individuals’ text comprehension and learning therefore benefit from a written language whose structure reflects the structure of their visual-spatial sign language. We speculate that, for signing deaf individuals, practice in reading written sign language texts might positively affect the ability to comprehend the written oral language texts.


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