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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2012, Vol. 44 Issue (8) : 1004-1014     DOI:
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The Effect of Semantic Classifier on Lexical Recognition and Semantic Extraction of Chinese Sign Language
CHEN Sui-Qing;ZHANG Ji-Jia;WU Xue-Yun;GAO Ke-Juan
(1 Center for Psychological Application, Department of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China)
(2 Guangzhou School for the Deaf, Guangzhou 510620, China)
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Abstract  Classifier is a symbol of an object belonging to a particular class. Sign language classifier is a kind of hand-shape which included location, shape, movement and orientation, or with a particular non-manual feature. As one of major factors in sign language, however, the semantic classifier construction in Chinese Sign Language (CSL) has seldom been investigated as a special field. Likewise, YiFu (shapes) of Chinese characters signifies their meaning directly and YiFu is the main carriers of this function. Many studies have examined the role of components in the recognition of Chinese characters. The results showed that the effect of YiFu existed in semantic processing of Chinese words. In addition, by means of word classifying, the studies showed that the symbol of the upper concepts in concept names played an important role in the semantic extraction of scientific and natural concepts. According to the results of the study of Chinese characters, the semantic classifier might affect the recognition of sign language. As a result, we adopted three semantic categories to examine how the semantic classifier of sign language affect the deaf in recognition of the sign language. The three categories include: (1) Generation, the classifier “ ” represents male elders and “ ” represents female elders; (2) Gender, the classifier “ ” represents female; (3) Position, the classifier “ ” represents the position of leadership.
By using two experiments, the effect of the semantic classifier on the word identification and semantic decision of the Chinese Sign Language were investigated. In Experiment 1, in order to examine the influence of semantic classifier to sign word identification, the deaf students were required to make a lexical decision which were asked to judge a target sign is real or not. The stimulus were 88 sign pictures which were obtained from Chinese Sign Language (2003), including 88 pseudo sign pictures. The result showed that reaction times of the deaf students in identifying the sign language with semantic classifier was much shorter than those without semantic classifier. The Experiment 2 adopted the semantic decision task to explore the influence of semantic classifier to semantic extraction, in which deaf students were required to judge respectively which one was elder or younger; male or female; leadership or non-leadership. The experimental materials of Experiment 2 were the same as in Experiment 1. Similar results were obtained from Experiment 2, deaf students had slower response when target items had no semantic classifier.
The two experiments showed that the semantic classifier affected sign word identification and meaning extraction of sign language. To sum up, the current study demonstrated the similar tendency as Chinese characters: If the semantic classifier was consistent with semantic meaning of sign language, it could improve the deaf in semantic extraction of sigh language; if not, it could hinder them.
The conclusion of semantic classifier of sign language make contribution to the theory of CSL word cognition. It also has an important enlightenment in language and concept education for the deaf.
Keywords Chinese sign language      semantic classifier      lexical recognition      semantic extraction     
Corresponding Authors: ZHANG Ji-Jia   
Issue Date: 28 August 2012
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CHEN Sui-Qing
ZHANG Ji-Jia
WU Xue-Yun
GAO Ke-Juan
Cite this article:   
CHEN Sui-Qing,ZHANG Ji-Jia,WU Xue-Yun, et al. The Effect of Semantic Classifier on Lexical Recognition and Semantic Extraction of Chinese Sign Language[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2012, 44(8): 1004-1014.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2012/V44/I8/1004
[1] CHEN Suiqing; ZHANG Jijia; LI Yanxia; ZHANG Huixia. Chinese Sign Language Lexical Recognition: Two Network Systems and Interaction Effect Among Sign Language Words[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(7): 878-889.
[2] ZHANG Ji-Jia;CHEN Sui-Qing;ZHANG Guang-Yan;DAI Dong-Hong. Age of Acquisition Effects in Deaf College Students[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2012, 44(11): 1421-1433.
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