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Unimodal bilingualism in the Deaf community: Language contact between two sign languages in Australia and the United Kingdom

Adam, REJ; (2017) Unimodal bilingualism in the Deaf community: Language contact between two sign languages in Australia and the United Kingdom. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Little is known about unimodal sign bilingualism: whether it resembles unimodal (spoken) bilingualism, or bimodal (spoken and signed) bilingualism, or whether it has unique qualities. This study is the first to examine this topic through a study of bilingualism in two Deaf communities in which dialects of unrelated languages: British Sign Language (BSL) and Irish Sign Language (ISL) are used. The research looks at previously unexplored aspects of code-blending and code-mixing, and compares the data with data on bimodal bilingualism (in a signed and a spoken language) and unimodal bilingualism (in two spoken languages) with a combination of experimental and naturalistic data. The experimental study used a picture naming task. Eleven participants were asked to name pictures as quickly as possible, and response latencies were analysed. It was found that there was indeed a switching cost, which did not appear to be asymmetrical. There was also a cognate facilitation effect. The second part of the study was based on interviews with bilinguals. As well as phenomena already described for unimodal spoken language bilingualism, including code-switching and code mixing, the study reports on mouthing, where spoken mouth patterns (in this case English) are produced simultaneously with manual signs. These are usually considered examples of code-blending, reflecting active mixing of two languages. This study provides an initial understanding of how modality interacts with bilingualism and suggests the need for further explorations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Unimodal bilingualism in the Deaf community: Language contact between two sign languages in Australia and the United Kingdom
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: sign language, bilingualism, language contact, unimodal bilingualism, Australian Sign Language, Australian Irish Sign Language, Irish Sign Language, British Sign Language, minority language
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1535233
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