A number of language acquisition patterns have been identified in the signing of a newly designated population of bimodal bilingual individuals—heritage signers. This article examines subject-referent tracking forms in the ASL (American Sign Language) narratives of six elementary-school-aged, native-signing, bimodal bilinguals made at different ages (5;02–6;09 and 6;07–8;02). These narratives are compared to those created by six Deaf counterparts (5;05–7;10) in a video-retelling task. The results show that, just as their Deaf peers, early bimodal bilinguals prefer nominal forms (for referent introduction and reintroduction) and null forms (for maintenance). However, the bimodal bilingual children increasingly diverge from their Deaf counterparts in the use of overt and fingerspelled forms. The increasing use of overt forms for maintenance and reintroduction is similar to patterns previously documented for heritage speakers, young unimodal bilinguals, and late bimodal bilinguals. Four of the six bimodal bilinguals showed an increased use of fingerspelled nominal forms for all discourse functions, yet these forms were rarely used by the Deaf children and instead were reserved for referent introduction. The greater prevalence of fingerspelled forms by the young bimodal


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pp. 328-354
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