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The influence of language deprivation in early childhood on L2 processing: An ERP comparison of deaf native signers and deaf signers with a delayed language acquisition.

Skotara N, Salden U, Kügow M, Hänel-Faulhaber B, Röder B - BMC Neurosci (2012)

Bottom Line: After syntactic violations, native German speakers and native signers of German sign language (DGS) with German as second language (L2) showed a left anterior negativity (LAN) followed by a P600, whereas no LAN but a negativity over the right hemisphere instead was found in deaf participants with a delayed onset of first language (L1) acquisition.The P600 of this group had a smaller amplitude and a different scalp distribution as compared to German native speakers.The results of the present study suggest that language deprivation in early childhood alters the cerebral organization of syntactic language processing mechanisms for L2.

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Affiliation: Biologische Psychologie & Neuropsychologie, Universität Hamburg, Von-Melle-Park 11, Hamburg 20146, Germany. nils.skotara@uni-hamburg.de

ABSTRACT

Background: To examine which language function depends on early experience, the present study compared deaf native signers, deaf non-native signers and hearing German native speakers while processing German sentences. The participants watched simple written sentences while event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. At the end of each sentence they were asked to judge whether the sentence was correct or not. Two types of violations were introduced in the middle of the sentence: a semantically implausible noun or a violation of subject-verb number agreement.

Results: The results showed a similar ERP pattern after semantic violations (an N400 followed by a positivity) in all three groups. After syntactic violations, native German speakers and native signers of German sign language (DGS) with German as second language (L2) showed a left anterior negativity (LAN) followed by a P600, whereas no LAN but a negativity over the right hemisphere instead was found in deaf participants with a delayed onset of first language (L1) acquisition. The P600 of this group had a smaller amplitude and a different scalp distribution as compared to German native speakers.

Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that language deprivation in early childhood alters the cerebral organization of syntactic language processing mechanisms for L2. Semantic language processing instead was unaffected.

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Overview of the ERP results for all clusters. Averaged ERPs of the semantic (first row) and syntactic (second row) condition for EGL (first column), ESL (second column), and LSL (third column) on all clusters. The dotted line denotes the ERP after the incorrect condition, the solid line the correct condition.
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Figure 1: Overview of the ERP results for all clusters. Averaged ERPs of the semantic (first row) and syntactic (second row) condition for EGL (first column), ESL (second column), and LSL (third column) on all clusters. The dotted line denotes the ERP after the incorrect condition, the solid line the correct condition.

Mentions: In the time window of 300–500 ms, the ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of CO (F(1, 11) = 46.717; p < 0.001) and an interaction of CO and CL (F(2.3, 24.9) = 17.399; ϵ = 0.377; p < 0.001). The ERP difference between the incorrect and correct condition was negative for all clusters except L2 and L3 (p < 0.05) (see Figures 1 and 2, and Table 3).


The influence of language deprivation in early childhood on L2 processing: An ERP comparison of deaf native signers and deaf signers with a delayed language acquisition.

Skotara N, Salden U, Kügow M, Hänel-Faulhaber B, Röder B - BMC Neurosci (2012)

Overview of the ERP results for all clusters. Averaged ERPs of the semantic (first row) and syntactic (second row) condition for EGL (first column), ESL (second column), and LSL (third column) on all clusters. The dotted line denotes the ERP after the incorrect condition, the solid line the correct condition.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3404011&req=5

Figure 1: Overview of the ERP results for all clusters. Averaged ERPs of the semantic (first row) and syntactic (second row) condition for EGL (first column), ESL (second column), and LSL (third column) on all clusters. The dotted line denotes the ERP after the incorrect condition, the solid line the correct condition.
Mentions: In the time window of 300–500 ms, the ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of CO (F(1, 11) = 46.717; p < 0.001) and an interaction of CO and CL (F(2.3, 24.9) = 17.399; ϵ = 0.377; p < 0.001). The ERP difference between the incorrect and correct condition was negative for all clusters except L2 and L3 (p < 0.05) (see Figures 1 and 2, and Table 3).

Bottom Line: After syntactic violations, native German speakers and native signers of German sign language (DGS) with German as second language (L2) showed a left anterior negativity (LAN) followed by a P600, whereas no LAN but a negativity over the right hemisphere instead was found in deaf participants with a delayed onset of first language (L1) acquisition.The P600 of this group had a smaller amplitude and a different scalp distribution as compared to German native speakers.The results of the present study suggest that language deprivation in early childhood alters the cerebral organization of syntactic language processing mechanisms for L2.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Biologische Psychologie & Neuropsychologie, Universität Hamburg, Von-Melle-Park 11, Hamburg 20146, Germany. nils.skotara@uni-hamburg.de

ABSTRACT

Background: To examine which language function depends on early experience, the present study compared deaf native signers, deaf non-native signers and hearing German native speakers while processing German sentences. The participants watched simple written sentences while event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. At the end of each sentence they were asked to judge whether the sentence was correct or not. Two types of violations were introduced in the middle of the sentence: a semantically implausible noun or a violation of subject-verb number agreement.

Results: The results showed a similar ERP pattern after semantic violations (an N400 followed by a positivity) in all three groups. After syntactic violations, native German speakers and native signers of German sign language (DGS) with German as second language (L2) showed a left anterior negativity (LAN) followed by a P600, whereas no LAN but a negativity over the right hemisphere instead was found in deaf participants with a delayed onset of first language (L1) acquisition. The P600 of this group had a smaller amplitude and a different scalp distribution as compared to German native speakers.

Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that language deprivation in early childhood alters the cerebral organization of syntactic language processing mechanisms for L2. Semantic language processing instead was unaffected.

Show MeSH