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Brain Lang. 2015 Aug;147:96-106. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2015.05.006. Epub 2015 Jul 10.

Simultaneous perception of a spoken and a signed language: The brain basis of ASL-English code-blends.

Author information

1
Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Neuroscience, San Diego State University, 6495 Alvarado Rd., Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92120, USA. Electronic address: jweisberg@mail.sdsu.edu.
2
Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Neuroscience, San Diego State University, 6495 Alvarado Rd., Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92120, USA. Electronic address: stephen.mccullough@mail.sdsu.edu.
3
Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Neuroscience, San Diego State University, 6495 Alvarado Rd., Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92120, USA. Electronic address: kemmorey@mail.sdsu.edu.

Abstract

Code-blends (simultaneous words and signs) are a unique characteristic of bimodal bilingual communication. Using fMRI, we investigated code-blend comprehension in hearing native ASL-English bilinguals who made a semantic decision (edible?) about signs, audiovisual words, and semantically equivalent code-blends. English and ASL recruited a similar fronto-temporal network with expected modality differences: stronger activation for English in auditory regions of bilateral superior temporal cortex, and stronger activation for ASL in bilateral occipitotemporal visual regions and left parietal cortex. Code-blend comprehension elicited activity in a combination of these regions, and no cognitive control regions were additionally recruited. Furthermore, code-blends elicited reduced activation relative to ASL presented alone in bilateral prefrontal and visual extrastriate cortices, and relative to English alone in auditory association cortex. Consistent with behavioral facilitation observed during semantic decisions, the findings suggest that redundant semantic content induces more efficient neural processing in language and sensory regions during bimodal language integration.

KEYWORDS:

American Sign Language; Bimodal bilingualism; fMRI

PMID:
26177161
PMCID:
PMC5769874
DOI:
10.1016/j.bandl.2015.05.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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