The hands and mouth do not always slip together in British sign language: Dissociating articulatory channels in the lexicon

David Vinson, Robin Thompson, Robert Skinner, Niel Fox, Gabriella Vigliocco

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In contrast to the single-articulatory system of spoken languages, sign languages employ multiple articulators, including the hands and the mouth. We asked whether manual components and mouthing patterns of lexical signs share a semantic representation, and whether their relationship is affected by the differing language experience of deaf and hearing native signers. We used picture-naming tasks and word-translation tasks to assess whether the same semantic effects occur in manual production and mouthing production. Semantic errors on the hands were more common in the English-translation task than in the picture- naming task, but errors in mouthing patterns showed a different trend. We conclude that mouthing is represented and accessed through a largely separable channel, rather than being bundled with manual components in the sign lexicon. Results were comparable for deaf and hearing signers; differences in language experience did not play a role. These results provide novel insight into coordinating different modalities in language production.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1158-1167
    Number of pages10
    JournalPsychological Science
    Volume21
    Issue number8
    Early online date19 Jul 2010
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2010

    Keywords

    • lexical retrieval
    • production
    • sign language
    • mouthing
    • semantic competition

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