This project investigated how bimodal bilinguals, age 2-5, matched the modality of interlocutors using American Sign Language (ASL) or spoken English in two contexts:

  • When only one language is being used in the environment
  • When both a signed and spoken language were used in an alternating pattern.

The study then investigated the relationship between a parent report of executive functioning and matching of the interlocutor’s modality. A word was considered to match the interlocutor’s modality if they responded in the target language regardless of whether code-blending was present.

Hearing bimodal bilinguals matched the English speaking interlocutor during one-on-one interactions 100 percent of the time. There was more variability with ASL matching with a range of 30-100 percent and a mean of 81.58 percent. In the alternating condition, 7 of 8 participants matched English 100 percent of the time.

The participants matched the ASL interlocutor with a range of 33-100 percent and a mean of 70.11 percent in the alternating condition. Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test indicated no differences between matching in the single language condition and the alternating language conditions for ASL or English.

A Kendall’s Tau-b correlation indicated no relationship between parent-reported executive functioning and interlocutor matching for these participants.

This study’s findings support previous research, suggesting that bimodal bilinguals are sensitive to the communication modality of their interlocutor. There were no differences in matching when only one language was used compared to two alternating languages.

It is important to note that this study investigated matching, not linguistic competency.

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The Relationship Between Young Bimodal-Bilinguals (Coda) Matching of the Interlocutor Modality and Their Executive Function

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