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Affixes and function words in the written language of deaf children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

Traute Taeschner*
University of Rome, “La Sapienza”
Antonella Devescovi
University of Rome, “La Sapienza”
Virginia Volterra
Institute of Psychology, CNR, Rome
Traute Taeschner, Istituto di Psicologia, Viale Marx, 15, 00137 Rome, Italy


The goal of this article is to investigate whether the acquisition of some morpho-syntactic aspects in Italian deaf adolescents is simply delayed with respect to hearing children, or whether it follows significantly different developmental patterns. Twenty-five deaf students (age range: 11–15 years) and a group of 125 hearing controls (age range: 6–16 years) performed four tests, administered in written form, relative to different grammatical aspects: plurals, articles, and clitic pronouns. Results showed three different patterns of development depending on the grammatical aspect considered. Deaf children compared to hearing controls showed normal development in the pluralization task, delayed development in the pronoun task, and a qualitatively different pattern in the article task.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1988

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