Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lankford, James E.||Burns, Martha S.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Communication Disorders


Deaf--Means of communication; English language--Prepositions


The primary purpose of the present investigation was to determine whether hearing-impaired subjects had difficulty comprehending and expressing prepositional relationships and which factors might be influencing their performance on the task. The factors investigated in this evaluation included IQ, discrimination ability and pure tone average. Another evaluation looked at whether the subjects' response modality (oral or manual) was related to task performance, pure tone average, IQ or discrimination ability. Nineteen subjects completed a task involving the comprehension and expression of six prepositions--to, on, at, from, beside and through. Their performance was evaluated for these as well as for the foils, which were included in the test for the purpose of providing the subjects with sentences containing unusual contexts. The percentage correct for each preposition was computed; it was found that for most of the prepositions, comprehension was easier than expression. Receptively, there was approximately an equal percentage correct for all of the prepositions except a£ and to (as used to express spatial relations) which were more difficult; it may be that many of these hearing-impaired subjects had not acquired the fine distinction between to and at nor had they learned the idiomatic expression used in this test. Results of a t-test for related measures revealed significant differences between the receptive and expressive portions of the test; the expressive task was more difficult. Order of presentation (receptive or expressive portion first) was found to be nonsignificant on a t-test for independent means. A discriminant analysis statistic revealed that discrimination ability was the most important predictor of the response modality and subjects' performance on the task. This seemed to indicate that those subjects who had better discrimination ability responded orally on the expressive portion of the task and also obtained higher overall scores on the task than those who had poorer discrimination ability. It was expected that those who had better discrimination ability were those who had more experience with their native spoken language, English, and therefore, more experience with prepositional relationships. However, it also seems probable that hearing-impaired individuals utilizing the manual mode of communication could also receive instruction that would help them acquire the basic concepts and, eventually, the prepositional relationships. It was concluded that in the process of educating hearing-impaired children, special attention should be given to the instruction of early concepts and semantics. With this firm foundation the child will then have the basis for language acquisition.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


vi, 70 pages




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