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LINGUIST List 17.1639

Wed May 31 2006

Diss: Applied Ling/Socioling: Bishop: 'Bimodal Bilingualism in Hear...'

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        1.    Michele Bishop, Bimodal Bilingualism in Hearing, Native Signers of American Sign Language

Message 1: Bimodal Bilingualism in Hearing, Native Signers of American Sign Language
Date: 31-May-2006
From: Michele Bishop <mishbishmac.com>
Subject: Bimodal Bilingualism in Hearing, Native Signers of American Sign Language

Institution: Gallaudet University
Program: Department of Linguistics and Translation
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Michele Bishop

Dissertation Title: Bimodal Bilingualism in Hearing, Native Signers of American Sign Language

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Subject Language(s): American Sign Language (ase)

Dissertation Director:
Karen Emmorey
Kendall A King
Ceil Lucas
Paul Preston
Beppie Van Den Bogaerde

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation describes the features of bimodal bilingualism in
naturalistic discourse among hearing, native users of American Sign
Language (ASL) and addresses three main questions:
1. What are the features of code-blending in bimodal communication?
2. What are the sociolinguistic/pragmatic features of bimodal communication?
3. Which model for determining a base language in mixed utterances is best
able to account for code-blends?

This study aims to provide a thorough description of the bimodal linguistic
phenomenon known as code-blending or simultaneous signed and spoken
utterances by analyzing naturalistic discourse among hearing, native
signers of ASL, specifically discussing topics about childhood, language
and identity. Adult, native bimodal bilinguals represent the only group of
bilinguals with the potential to produce two typologically distinct, native
languages simultaneously. Linguistic research on spoken language
bilinguals has been driven by the attempt to determine a base or matrix
language in sequential mixed utterances. However, the unique feature of
mixed simultaneous utterances has not figured into the discussion to any
great degree. The issue of which theoretical model (i.e. Myers-Scotton's
Matrix Language Frame 1993a, Bogaerde and Baker, in press) is best able to
account for code-blending is explored using data from both a pilot project
done with Italian bimodal bilinguals (Bishop & Hicks forthcoming) and the
current data analyzed in this study.

It is argued that Myers-Scotton's MLF model (1993a) for determining a base
language in certain bimodal utterances is limited. An alternative model by
Bogaerde and Baker (in press) illustrates a greater capability to account
for all types of bimodal utterances, making this model a more viable
approach. The application of both models (Bogaerde and Bakers' and
Myers-Scotton's) in this dissertation suggests that a model that
incorporates meaning along with grammar would be able to account for the
data that do not fit a pure grammar model; in other words meaning is
essential to language analysis. A Cognitive Grammar framework views
meaning as critical to language analysis and claims that linguistic units
in any grammar are form-meaning pairings (Langacker 1991). This
dissertation relies to a great extent on the synthesis of both Cognitive
Grammar (Langacker 1991) and Mental Space Theory (Fauconnier1994) by
Liddell in his latest book Grammar, Gesture and Meaning in American Sign
Language (2003).

This dissertation suggests that the MLF model cannot be universally applied
to all bilingual utterances as has been claimed and instead, turns to the
model proposed by Bogaerde and Baker (in press) for determining a base
language in bimodal utterances. The application of their model, originally
used for utterances by Deaf mothers and their Deaf and hearing children, is
expanded and adapted to accommodate adult bimodal utterances. New
categories of code-blends are presented together with a discussion of the
impact of ASL on spoken discourse, such as the use of surrogate and token
blends, listing, buoys, and depicting verbs (Liddell 2003). It is
suggested that co-speech gesture studies and gestures studies in general
are more productive than spoken language code-switching studies in
providing insights into code-blending phenomena.

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