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Differentiating the use of gaze in bilingual-bimodal language acquisition: a comparison of two sets of twins with deaf parents

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 1999

E. DAYLENE RICHMOND-WELTY
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit
PATRICIA SIPLE
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit

Abstract

Signed languages make unique demands on gaze during communication. Bilingual children acquiring both a spoken and a signed language must learn to differentiate gaze use for their two languages. Gaze during utterances was examined for a set of bilingual-bimodal twins acquiring spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL) and a set of monolingual twins acquiring ASL when the twins were aged 2;0, 3;0 and 4;0. The bilingual-bimodal twins differentiated their languages by age 3;0. Like the monolingual ASL twins, the bilingual-bimodal twins established mutual gaze at the beginning of their ASL utterances and either maintained gaze to the end or alternated gaze to include a terminal look. In contrast, like children acquiring spoken English monolingually, the bilingual-bimodal twins established mutual gaze infrequently for their spoken English utterances. When they did establish mutual gaze, it occurred later in their spoken utterances and they tended to look away before the end.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1999 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

We extend out deep gratitude to the participating families who believed enough in our work to share their lives with us so that the study could be completed. We also thank Paula Berwanger, Barbara Winston-Battle, Daniel Labby, and Chris Welty for their transcribing and coding contributions to this study. Portions of the data reported in this article were presented at the Eighteenth International Congress on Education of the Deaf, Tel Aviv, Israel, July, 1995, and at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, May, 1996.
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