Family Language Policy in American Sign Language and English Bilingual Families




Kite, Bobbie Jo

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This study aims to examine the ways in which eight hearing families of bimodal-bilingual deaf children utilize, revise, and reflect upon their family language policy. The bimodal-bilingual is the development and use of more than one language in more than one modality. The spoken and signed are the modes to which “bimodal” refers to in this study. The family language policy is a sociolinguistic approach in examining bi/multilingualism in families (King & Fogle, 2013). This study is motivated by two factors: (a) the unique role of family language policy in deaf children's language development and (b) the need to examine early childhood bimodal-bilingual development within specific ethnolinguistic and ethnocultural contexts. The findings indicate the connection to the Deaf community and Deaf individuals through the Deaf Mentors Project is a key to providing families with support to resist various forms of oppression from the medical community. The process of the early linguistic acquisition of ASL-English bimodal-bilingual development and its contribution to young children’s linguistic outcomes as a foundation for future academic engagement and lifelong success is supported through family language policy.



Early childhood education, American Sign Language, Bilingual education, Deaf, Deaf education, Early intervention, Family language policy