Jill P. Morford

Jill P. Morford
University of New Mexico | UNM · Department of Linguistics

PhD

About

65
Publications
15,641
Reads
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1,473
Citations
Introduction
Jill P. Morford is Professor of Linguistics at the University of New Mexico. Jill does research on signed language acquisition, processing and bilingualism.
Additional affiliations
August 1996 - present
University of New Mexico
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (65)
Article
This study explored performance on expressive and receptive graphic symbol tasks and spoken comprehension by individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) as well as the relationship of performance with participants' skills and characteristics. Participants were 19 children and youth (aged 5- to 18-years-old) who used aided c...
Article
Full-text available
This study focuses on the relationship between the age of acquisition of Polish Sign Language (PJM) by deaf individuals and their receptive language skills at the phonological, morphological and syntactic levels. Sixty Deaf signers of PJM were recruited into three equal groups ( n = 20): (1) a group exposed to PJM from birth from their deaf parents...
Article
Scholars have argued that restricted language input slows language acquisition, but the pathway of development may remain the same. The current study investigated the influence of amount of Spanish input on Spanish demonstrative usage among 19 U.S. child heritage speakers, ages 3;4–8;7. Demonstratives are among the first grammatical features to eme...
Article
Full-text available
The well-known Stroop interference effect has been instrumental in revealing the highly automated nature of lexical processing as well as providing new insights to the underlying lexical organization of first and second languages within proficient bilinguals. The present cross-linguistic study had two goals: 1) to examine Stroop interference for dy...
Article
Bilinguals, both hearing and deaf, activate multiple languages simultaneously even in contexts that require only one language. To date, the point in development at which bilingual signers experience cross-language activation of a signed and a spoken language remains unknown. We investigated the processing of written words by ASL-English bilingual d...
Chapter
In the last two decades there has been an upsurge of research on the cognitive and neural basis of bilingualism. The initial discovery that the bilingual’s two languages are active regardless of the intention to use one language alone, now replicated in hundreds of studies, has shaped the research agenda. The subsequent research has investigated th...
Article
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Taube und hörende mehrsprachi-ge Personen aktivieren nie nur eine Sprache, sondern die vorhandenen Sprachen sind simultan aktiv. Für taube bimodal-bilinguale Personen konnte eine solche Ko-Aktivierung in mehreren Studien mit erwachsenen Proband*innen und für ver-schiedene Sprachen gezeigt werden. Dabei zeigt sich ein robuster Ko-Aktivierungseffekt,...
Article
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The aim of this article is to increase awareness of language practices in the deaf community that affect communication needs and health outcomes, focusing particularly on the prevalence of bilingualism among deaf adults. Language deprivation and poor health outcomes in the deaf population are risks that cannot be addressed solely by hearing interve...
Article
Purpose: To explore expressive and receptive use of speech and graphic symbols and relationships with linguistic and cognitive skills in children with typical development. Method: Participants were 82 children with typical development (4 to 9 years). Measures of memory, visual analysis skills, and receptive language were used, along with five exper...
Article
The visual-manual modality of sign languages renders them a unique test case for language acquisition and processing theories. In this commentary the authors describe evidence from signed languages, and ask whether it is consistent with Ambridge’s proposal. The evidence includes recent research on collocations in American Sign Language that reveal...
Article
Full-text available
Iconicity has traditionally been considered an objective, fixed, unidimensional property of language forms, often operationalized as transparency for experimental purposes. Within a Cognitive Linguistics framework, iconicity is a mapping between an individual’s construal of form and construal of meaning, such that iconicity is subjective, dynamic,...
Chapter
In a puzzle completion task designed to elicit demonstratives, Spanish-speaking children and adults directed an experimenter to select puzzle pieces differing in location and in shared focus of attention. Three to five-year-old children were not all sensitive to referent location when selecting a demonstrative. By contrast, six to eight-year-old ch...
Article
This paper adopts a cognitive linguistic framework to explore the influence of spatial and social factors on the use of Spanish demonstratives esta ‘this’ and esa ‘that’. Twenty adult Spanish speakers in Monterrey, Mexico, were asked questions prompting the selection of puzzle pieces for placement in a 25-piece puzzle located in the shared space be...
Article
Full-text available
American Sign Language (ASL) makes extensive use of pointing signs, but there has been only limited documentation of how pointing signs are used for demonstrative functions. We elicited demonstratives from four adult Deaf signers of ASL in a puzzle completion task. Our preliminary analysis of the demonstratives produced by these signers supports th...
Article
Full-text available
When deaf bilinguals are asked to make semantic similarity judgments of two written words, their responses are influenced by the sublexical relationship of the signed language translations of the target words. This study investigated whether the observed effects of American Sign Language (ASL) activation on English print depend on (a) an overlap in...
Article
Full-text available
Investigations of iconicity in signed language processing often rely on non-signer ratings to determine whether signs are iconic, implying that iconicity can be objectively evaluated by individuals with no prior exposure to a linguistic form. We question the assumption that iconicity is an objective property of the form of a sign and argue that ico...
Article
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What is the time course of cross-language activation in deaf sign–print bilinguals? Prior studies demonstrating cross-language activation in deaf bilinguals used paradigms that would allow strategic or conscious translation. This study investigates whether cross-language activation can be eliminated by reducing the time available for lexical proces...
Article
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Eye fixation measures were used to examine English relative clause processing by adult ASL–English bilingual deaf readers. Participants processed subject relative clauses faster than object relative clauses, but expected animacy cues eliminated processing difficulty in object relative clauses. This brings into question previous claims that deaf rea...
Chapter
Full-text available
Deaf individuals living in isolation from the Deaf community have shown remarkable resilience in devising ways to communicate with those around them, often generating complex gesture systems called homesign systems (cf. home signs). While all humans rely on gesture to communicate their thoughts to others, gesture use by Deaf individuals can become...
Article
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In 1939, NYU Professor of German, Murat Roberts warned readers about the potentially harmful effects of societal bilingualism: “When two languages come to be spoken by the same society for the same purposes, both of these languages are certain to deteriorate. The sense of conflict disturbs in both of them the basis of articulation, deranges the pro...
Article
This study addressed visualword recognition in deaf bilinguals who are proficient inGerman Sign Language (DGS) and German. The study specifically investigated whether DGS signs are activated during a monolingual German word recognition task despite the lack of similarity in German orthographic representations and DGS phonological representations. D...
Article
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Research on spoken-language monolinguals and bilinguals has shown that socioeconomic status significantly affects literacy outcomes. One explanation for this effect is that children in higher-SES homes have better oral proficiency in the language of literacy instruction (Hoff, 2013; Zhang et al., 2013). American Sign Language-English deaf bilingual...
Article
Full-text available
Native speakers of English are sensitive to the likelihood that a verb will appear in a specific subcategorization frame, known as verb bias. Readers rely on verb bias to help them resolve temporary ambiguity in sentence comprehension. We investigate whether deaf sign-print bilinguals who have acquired English syntactic knowledge primarily through...
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of research methods used to investigate the comprehension and production of signed languages. In a methodological review of 61 published studies, it was found that psycholinguistic studies have been carried out on a very restricted range of signed languages. The majority of investigations were conducted in laborato...
Article
While research on spoken language has a long tradition of studying and contrasting language production and comprehension, the study of graphic symbol communication has focused more on production than comprehension. As a result, the relationships between the ability to construct and to interpret graphic symbol sequences are not well understood. This...
Article
Recent evidence demonstrates that American Sign Language (ASL) signs are active during print word recognition in deaf bilinguals who are highly proficient in both ASL and English. In the present study, we investigate whether signs are active during print word recognition in two groups of unbalanced bilinguals: deaf ASL-dominant and hearing English-...
Article
This study was designed to determine the feasibility of using self-paced reading methods to study deaf readers and to assess how deaf readers respond to two syntactic manipulations. Three groups of participants read the test sentences: deaf readers, hearing monolingual English readers, and hearing bilingual readers whose second language was English...
Article
Much work has examined whether deaf and hearing individuals’ reading strategies are qualitatively different, under the assumption that such differences might account for discrepancies in levels of reading achievement (cf., Allen 1986; Gallaudet Research Institute 2005; Holt 1994; Karchmer and Mitchell 2003; Traxler 2000; Wauters et al. 2006). While...
Article
Language acquisition rarely begins at birth for deaf individuals. The consequences of linguistic isolation in early childhood have been investigated from two perspectives. One literature documents the gestural communication systems, called homesign, that deaf children generate prior to any exposure to language. A second literature contrasts the lan...
Article
Full-text available
Past research has established that delayed first language exposure is associated with comprehension difficulties in non-native signers of American Sign Language (ASL) relative to native signers. The goal of the current study was to investigate potential explanations of this disparity: do non-native signers have difficulty with all aspects of compre...
Article
Deaf bilinguals for whom American Sign Language (ASL) is the first language and English is the second language judged the semantic relatedness of word pairs in English. Critically, a subset of both the semantically related and unrelated word pairs were selected such that the translations of the two English words also had related forms in ASL. Word...
Article
Given the frequent use of graphic symbols in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems, some individuals who use AAC may have greater familiarity with constructing graphic-symbol sequences than do speaking individuals without disabilities. Whether this increased familiarity has an impact on the interpretation of such sequences or on...
Chapter
Deaf students today are educated largely in monolingual educational contexts despite the fact that the Deaf community defines itself as bilingual and bicultural. In this chapter, we summarize some of the unique issues and historical contexts that characterize deaf education in the United States. We then describe how current research in three sub-fi...
Article
Full-text available
Graphic symbols are often used to represent words in Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems. Previous findings suggest that different processes operate when using graphic symbols and when using speech. This study assessed the ability of native speakers of French with no communication disorders from four age groups to interpret graphic-s...
Article
Utterances produced using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems may have characteristics that present challenges for interpretation by listeners. In particular, limited use of grammatical markers or unconventional word orders may encourage listeners to use interpretation strategies that differ from those based on spoken language...
Article
Children who require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems while they are in the process of acquiring language face unique challenges because they use graphic symbols for communication. In contrast to the situation of typically developing children, they use different modalities for comprehension (auditory) and expression (visual)...
Article
Perception of American Sign Language (ASL) handshape and place of articulation parameters was investigated in three groups of signers: deaf native signers, deaf non-native signers who acquired ASL between the ages of 10 and 18, and hearing non-native signers who acquired ASL as a second language between the ages of 10 and 26. Participants were aske...
Article
This study investigated the impact of syntactic complexity and task demands on construction of utterances using picture communication symbols by participants from 3 age groups with no communication disorders. Participants were 30 children (7;0 [years;months] to 8;11), 30 teenagers (12;0 to 13;11), and 30 adults (18 years and above). All participant...
Poster
In October 2006, the National Science Foundation funded three interdisciplinary research Centers for the Science of Learning. This poster introduces the Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL 2) located at Gallaudet University.
Article
We explored production and comprehension of complex sentences constructed using a limited vocabulary on a graphic symbol display with voice output by 25 adults who use augmentative and alternative communication. When asked to construct subject (SS) and object (OS) relative clause sentences, only a minority of participants encoded SS and OS relative...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of first-language acquisition in adolescence are very rare and depend primarily on comprehension measures to evaluate grammatical knowledge. These studies have led to the general conclusion that grammatical develop-ment in adolescence is severely impaired and performance is highly variable both within and across individuals. This article is...
Article
This study examined the Frog Story narratives of two adolescent homesigners in order to investigate whether homesign shares characteristics with ASL in the expression of motion events. Specifically, the study examined whether the homesigners would (1) combine conceptual elements of figure, ground, path and manner in single signs, and (2) whether th...
Article
When signers communicate with one another, they use some signs, such as FINISH, more frequently than others, such as EAGLE. The frequency of occurrence affects both the way that languages are processed and the way they change over time. It is important to be aware of the frequency characteristics of a language when pursuing either psycholinguistic...
Article
Full-text available
Complex syntactic structures may be difficult to recognize when produced using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems that do not contain grammatical markers. The present study investigated adult English speakers' production of Subject and Object relative clause sentences using a picture/symbol-based AAC system with speech output....
Article
Full-text available
The study of signed languages has enriched our general understanding of how language is acquired by humans. This article summarizes research on the acquisition of signed languages and reports the results of a three year longitudinal study of two deaf individuals who first learned American Sign Language (ASL) in adolescence. The study focuses on the...
Article
Children using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) picture boards often produce sequences of symbols that do not reflect the grammatical structure of the language spoken in their environment. These irregularities may reflect an incomplete or incorrect representation of linguistic structure. Alternatively, they may simply be the result...
Article
Summarizes research on structure of gesture produced in absence of speech. Finds that gestures of both hearing individuals who have been asked not to speak and deaf individuals who depend solely on gesture to communicate (including homesigners) exhibit characteristics typically associated with speech; gestures are segmented and linear rather than g...
Article
An essential function of human language is the ability to refer to information that is spatially and temporally displaced from the location of the speaker and the listener, that is, displaced reference. This article describes the development of this function in 4 deaf children who were not exposed to a usable conventional language model and communi...
Article
An essential function of human language is the ability to refer to information that is spatially and temporally displaced from the location of the speaker and the listener, that is, displaced reference. This article describes the development of this function in 4 deaf children who were not exposed to a usable conventional language model and communi...
Article
Reviews research on "homesign" systems, i.e., the gestural communication of deaf individuals who do not learn a spoken language and who are not exposed to a signed language. The article touches on how iconicity affects language structure and use, the role of input in language development, and the nature of the critical period for language acquisiti...
Article
Natural languages are characterized by standards of well-formedness. These internal standards are likely to be, at least in part, a product of a consensus achieved among the users of a language over time. Nevertheless, it is possible that an individual, attempting to invent symbols to communicate de novo, might generate a system of symbols that is...
Thesis
One of the most important functions of human language is to enable humans to transcend the physical boundaries of their environments. Language can establish reference to objects, events and ideas that are not present between multiple members of a linguistic community, obviating a dependence on environmental conditions for communication. Children ty...
Article
investigate the evidence for an arbitrary level of representation at different points in the evolution of manual languages / approach this question by artificially recreating the earliest phase of language origin in the manual modality, and by investigating a naturally occurring phenomenon in the generation of manual communication / these 2 forms o...

Projects

Projects (5)
Project
This project examines the use of demonstratives in various languages (to date: Spanish, ASL, English, and Navajo) and also investigates how children learn to use demonstratives in an interactional context.
Archived project
Project
How does our experience (broadly construed) influences language. Using experimental, corpus-based, and elicitation methods, we approach this question from several angles to better understand the individual contributions of sensory-motor experience, socio-cultural experience, language-use/linguistic experience, and general cognition/embodied experiences on the emergence, organization, and processing of language.