In contrast to, for instance, studies of reading, there are very few studies that have investigated the written production of bimodal-bilingual deaf children. However, we need more empirical studies in how these children learn and develop different written languages, e.g. in order to provide a basis for sign bilingual education of the deaf.
My study concerning bilingual deaf children’s development in a written language – Swedish – will be presented. In the study, the written production of Swedish in deaf children was carried out, using a general L2 theory – Processability Theory (PT) (Pienemann, 1998). PT is an L2 grammatical developmental theory predicting an L2 learner’s grammar development. PT has been cross-linguistically confirmed for a number of languages including English as L2 and Swedish as L2. PT has, however, previously never been applied to deaf L2 learners of any written language. It gives an opportunity to use a theoretical framework that is cross-linguistically and empirically proven.
Data from 38 bilingual deaf children were analyzed according to PT. Data consisted of elicited written production collected from a sign bilingual school for the deaf. The deaf learners’ interlanguage outcomes were analyzed on morphological and syntactical level, including use of inflections, word order etc. The individual results were summarized in stages following PT’s five developmental stages.
The results suggest that the children follow a development routine similar to hearing L2 learners of Swedish. The PT stages, in which certain grammar structures are defined for every stage, were acquired in a matter similar to hearing L2 learners of Swedish. I will present the results and explain the findings. By the end, I will discuss how the method and results provide cross-linguistic comparisons and discuss the implications from this study for e.g. sign bilingual education of the deaf.
Bimodal-bilingualism, written language, deaf, sign language, Processability Theory