Verbal inflectional morphology in deaf and hearing students’ written texts: a corpus analysis

Verbal inflectional morphology in deaf and hearing students’ written texts: a corpus analysis

First Author: Amélie Bourcier -- Universite de Montreal
Additional authors/chairs: 
Marie-Pier Godin; Rachel Berthiaume; Daniel Daigle
Keywords: Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Spelling Ability, Inflectional morphology, French orthography and spelling, Elementary
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Deaf students have substantial difficulties regarding spelling, namely because of their phonological difficulties and because they are generally delayed in vocabulary knowledge acquisition, especially in the case of verbs (Luckner & Cooke, 2010; Mayberry et al., 2011). Of all words’ classes, verbs are particularly hard to acquire and master. In this study, we want to know if the spelling errors pattern concerning verbal inflectional morphology produced by these students is similar to that of age-matched (CA) or of younger students of the same reading age (RA).
Method: Deaf students (n=19, age: 11) using LSQ (Quebec sign language) were matched with 2 groups of French-speaking students (RA, n=17, age: 7,33; CA, n=19, age: 11,03)). All students had to write a narrative text. Verbal inflectional morphology was analyzed in every text, specifically regarding phonological plausibility. Number of words and verbs were also coded.
Results: Descriptive analyses and ANOVAs were used to compare students’ ability to write verbal inflections. These analyses revealed that deaf students’ texts were significantly shorter and that they contained less verbs than CA. However, their texts do not stand out from those of RA in terms of number of words and verbs, but they tend to produce less verbal endings that are phonologically plausible then RA.
Conclusions: Our results show that deaf students’ texts are similar to those of RA, but that they have lower verbal inflectional morphology abilities. Also, their errors are less phonologically plausible. Future interventional studies should focus on improving their inflectional morphological spelling abilities, particularly verb endings.