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Acquisition of signs from American sign language in hearing individuals following left hemisphere damage and aphasia

Authors
Journal
Neuropsychologia
0028-3932
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
30
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0028-3932(92)90106-v
Disciplines
  • Computer Science
  • Linguistics

Abstract

Abstract Three severely aphasic hearing patients with no prior knowledge of sign language were able to acquire competency in aspects of American Sign Language (ASL) lexicon and finger spelling, in contrast to a near complete inability to speak the English counterparts of these visuo-gestural signs. Two patients with damage in left postero-lateral temporal and inferior parietal cortices mastered production and comprehension of single signs and short meaningful sign sequences, but the one patient with damage to virtually all left temporal cortices was less accurate in single sign processing and was unable to produce sequences of signs at all. These findings suggest that conceptual knowledge is represented independently of the auditory-vocal records for the corresponding lexical entries, and that left anterior temporal cortices outside of traditional “language areas” are part of the neural network which supports the linkage between conceptual knowledge and linguistic signs, especially as they are used in the sequenced activations required for production or comprehension of meaningful sentences.

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