Differentiation in language and gesture use during early bilingual development of hearing children of Deaf parents*
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 November 2014
Hearing children of Deaf parents simultaneously acquire sign language and spoken language, which have many structural differences and represent two different modalities. We video-recorded eight children every six months between the ages of 12 and 24 months during three different play sessions: with their Deaf parent, with the Deaf parent and a hearing adult, and with a hearing adult alone. Additionally, we collected data on their vocabulary development in both sign language and spoken language. Children as young as 12 months old accommodated their language use according to the language(s) of their interlocutor(s). Additionally, the children used a manual modality that included gestures more frequently and in a more diverse way when interacting with their Deaf parent than with a hearing person. These findings bring new knowledge about language differentiation and gesture use of bilingual children during the early phases of language acquisition.
- Research Article
- Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014
This work was supported in part by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation, the Southern Ostrobothnia Hospital District's grant number EVO198, and the Ministry of Education and Culture. We are especially grateful to all the families that participated in this study and committed themselves to the longitudinal follow-up. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.