The Bilingual & the Bicultural Person In the Hearing & in the Deaf World

If we define the bilingual as a person who uses two or more languages (or dialects) in everyday life, then most Deaf people who sign and who use the majority language regularly (in its written form, for example) are bilingual. Deaf bilinguals share many similarities with hearing bilinguals (their diversity, the perception they have of their own bilingualism, their use of various language modes, etc.) but they are also characterized by a number of specificities (the lack of recognition of their bilingual status, the maintenance over time of their languages, the competence they have in certain language skills, their varying patterns of language knowledge and use, etc.). As concerns the bicultural, whom we can define as a person who lives in two or more cultures, who adapts to each and who blends aspects of each, there is little doubt that many Deaf are indeed bicultural. Some of the implications for the bilingual and bicultural education of Deaf children that emerge from these considerations are discussed in the paper.