Goodwin & Lillo-Martin | Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Ed.

The article “Deaf and Hearing American Sign Language–English Bilinguals: Typical Bilingual Language Development by Corina Goodwin (PhD 2016) and Diane Lillo-Martin has just been published in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education ( Congratulations!

Abstract: Some studies have concluded that sign language hinders spoken language development for deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children even though sign language exposure could protect DHH children from experiencing language deprivation. Furthermore, this research has rarely considered the bilingualism of children learning a signed and a spoken language. Here we compare spoken English development in 2–6-year-old deaf and hearing American Sign Language–English bilingual children to each other and to monolingual English speakers in a comparison database. Age predicted bilinguals’ language scores on all measures, whereas hearing status was only significant for one measure. Both bilingual groups tended to score below monolinguals. Deaf bilinguals’ scores differed more from monolinguals, potentially because of later age of and less total exposure to English, and/or to hearing through a cochlear implant. Overall, these results are consistent with typical early bilingual language development. Research and practice must treat signing-speaking children as bilinguals and consider the bilingual language development literature.