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Parallel Bimodal Bilingual Acquisition: A Hearing Child Mediated in a Deaf Family

From: Sign Language Studies
Volume 13, Number 4, Summer 2013
pp. 516-540 | 10.1353/sls.2013.0017

Abstract

Abstract:

The aim of this longitudinal case study was to describe bimodal and bilingual acquisition in a hearing child, Hugo, especially the role his Deaf family played in his linguistic education. Video observations of the family interactions were conducted from the time Hugo was 10 months of age until he was 40 months old. The family language was Swedish Sign Language (SSL). With Hugo, however, the parents used one language base in which single gestural signs or vocal words were often simultaneously inserted (the latter when not in visual contact). Hugo showed an awareness of visual attention to SSL communication at 22 months and differentiated vocal and gestural modality according to his interlocutor two months later. During the 28-month and 32-month sessions, a grammatical analysis might explain why Hugo’s use of SSL was rare. The findings are possibly vital for a broader international audience than professionals who meet bimodal-bilingual children.



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