Metasemantic abilities in spoken language in deaf and hearing bilinguals : an exploratory study

This study explored metasemantic awareness (MSA), as measured by a figurative language subtest of an Italian test of metalinguistic awareness (MLA), the TAM-3 (Pinto & Iliceto, 2007), in relation to different types of bilingualism, both unimodal and bimodal, in hearing and deaf adults. The research design allowed for multiple comparisons between groups with different linguistic status, ranging from monolingualism in a spoken language, to hearing unimodal bilingualism, hearing bimodal bilingualism, and deaf bimodal bilingualism. The influence of study qualification on metalinguistic performances was also explored by distinguishing, in each group, three levels ranging from High school (HS) to Master of Arts (MA) up to Doctorate (PhD). A total sample of 24 participants was recruited (age range : 20-40 years), composed of 6 hearing monolinguals, 6 hearing unimodal bilinguals, 6 hearing bimodal bilinguals and 6 deaf bimodal bilinguals. A series of Student's t tests for independent samples on the Linguistic (L) and Metalinguistic (ML) T scores of the figurative language subtest was performed. Results showed that differences were significant only in the ML scores which measure the deepest level of MSA. While the hearing unimodal bilinguals obtained the highest performance, the monolinguals obtained the lowest. The hearing and the deaf bimodal bilinguals were positioned in the middle. A two factor ANOVA revealed that both factors, i.e. linguistic group and study qualification, affected ML performances. Hearing unimodal bilinguals and deaf bimodal bilinguals with a PhD achieved the highest levels. Results are discussed in light of the literature on the relationships between bilingualism and MLA.

Publication type: 
Author or Creator: 
Pasquale Rinaldi
Ginevra Bertocchini
Maria Antonietta Pinto
Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali., Pisa, Italia
Rivista di psicolinguistica applicata (Testo stamp.) XVI (2016): 71–83.
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Pasquale Rinaldi, Ginevra Bertocchini, Maria Antonietta Pinto,/titolo:Metasemantic abilities in spoken language in deaf and hearing bilinguals : an exploratory study/doi:/rivista:Rivista di psicolinguistica applicata (Testo stam
Resource Identifier:
ISTC Author: 
Pasquale Rinaldi's picture
Real name: