The comprehension of sentences derived by syntactic movement in Palestinian Arabic speakers with hearing impairment

Naama Friedmann*, Manar Haddad-Hanna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Sentence and text comprehension is known to be difficult for orally trained individuals with hearing impairment. This study explored the comprehension of several syntactic structures that are especially difficult for these individuals and may lead them to experience considerable comprehension difficulties. Ten structures derived by wh-movement were tested, some of them for the first time in hearing impairment research: five types of relative clauses, three types of wh-questions, and two types of topicalized structures, compared with two types of simple sentences. Experiment 1 tested subject and object relatives using a sentence-picture matching task. Experiment 2 tested subject questions and object questions using a picture selection task. Experiment 3 tested subject and object relatives using comprehension questions. Experiment 4 tested subject and object relatives and topicalized sentences using a reading and paraphrasing task. The participants were 24 orally trained Palestinian Arabic speaking individuals, 21 of them had mild to profound binaural hearing loss, and 3 had monaural hearing loss. The participants with binaural hearing impairment, who were not sufficiently exposed to language input during the first year of life, failed to understand object relatives, object questions, and topicalization in subject-verb and verb-subject orders in both Palestinian Arabic and Standard Arabic. In some tasks, they even had difficulty understanding subject relatives and subject questions. The monaurally hearing impaired performed similarly to the controls on all tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-513
Number of pages41
JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


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