Date of Award
Master of Arts
It is difficult, if not impossible to find another code-switching condition that allows for the production of "simultaneous" language use in communication like that which is found in bimodal bilingualism. In 2002, Bauer, Hall, and Kruth conducted a study that examined code-switching in a play context for a German/English bilingual child. Emmorey, Borinstein, and Thomson in 2005 investigated bimodal bilingualism in adults. However there has not been a study like these for hearing children using ASL/English who have Deaf parents. By applying Bauer, Hall, and Kruth's study as a template for research into code-switching and adapting some of the processes used by Emmorey, Borinstein, and Thomson to research simultaneous sign and spoken language production, a study of hearing bimodal bilingual children of Deaf parents becomes possible. This study uses qualitative analysis of transcribed digital video recordings of two bimodal bilingual subjects that were coded to examine three language use possibilities in two language contexts. The bimodal subjects are capable of spoken English, manual Sign Language, and simultaneous production of both. The results were applied to answer the following questions: What kinds of play activity are the subjects and their adult interlocutors involved in? How do the subjects use their two languages to constitute their involvement in play? When and why do hearing children of Deaf parents code-switch? And when and why do they perform simultaneous production? The key findings are that bimodal bilingual children are strategic code-switchers/blenders using code selection to best communicate with their interlocutors based on the language environment and to fill lexical gaps or skill level deficiencies between codes.
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