LIVING WITH TWO LANGUAGES
AND TWO CULTURES1
Neuchâtel University, Switzerland
Chapter in Parasnis, I. (Ed.). Cultural and Language Diversity and the Deaf Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
This chapter contains three main parts. In the first, we describe the bilingual person and address such issues as bilingual language behavior, the psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics of bilingualism, as well as the psychology of the bilingual individual. In the second part, we introduce the bicultural person and discuss topics such as bicultural identity and bicultural behavior. Finally, in the last part, we describe the Deaf bilingual and bicultural.
1. THE BILINGUAL PERSON
Few areas of linguistics are surrounded by as many misconceptions as is bilingualism. Most people think that bilingualism is a rare phenomenon found only in such countries as Canada, Switzerland and Belgium and that bilinguals have equal speaking and writing fluency in their languages, have accentless speech and can interpret and translate without any prior training. The reality is in fact quite different; bilingualism is present in practically every country of the world, in all classes of society and in all age groups; in fact, it has been estimated that half the world's population is bilingual. As for bilinguals themselves, the majority acquired their languages at various points during their lives and are rarely equally fluent in them. Furthermore, few bilinguals are proficient interpreters and translators. (See the following for general overviews of bilingualism: Appel and Muysken, 1987; Baetens-Beardsmore, 1986; Clyne, 1972; Grosjean, 1982; Hakuta, 1986; Haugen, 1969; Romaine, 1989; Weinreich, 1968).
In this first part we will describe the many facets of the bilingual person. We will concentrate on the adult and will focus on the stable bilingual, that is the person who is no longer in the process of acquiring a second or third language.
a) Describing the bilingual
We will call bilingual those people who use two (or more) languages (or dialects) in their everyday lives. Thus, our definition includes people ranging from the migrant worker who speaks with some difficulty the host country's language (and who cannot read and write it) all the way to the professional interpreter who is totally fluent in two languages. In between we find the foreign spouse who interacts with friends in his first language, the scientist who reads and writes articles in a second language (but who rarely speaks it), the member of a linguistic minority who uses the minority language at home only and the majority language in all other domains of life, the Deaf person who uses sign language with her friends but a signed form of the spoken language with a hearing person, etc. Despite the great diversity that exists between these people, all share a common feature: they lead their lives with two (or more) languages.
The reasons that bring languages into contact and hence foster bilingualism are many: migrations of various kinds (economic, educational, political, religious), nationalism and federalism, education and culture, trade and commerce, intermarriage, etc. These factors create various linguistic needs in people who are in contact with two or more languages and who develop competencies in their languages to the extent required by these needs. In contact situations it is rare that all facets of life require the same language (people would not be bilingual if that were so) or that they always demand two languages (language A and B at work, at home, with friends, etc.). In fact, bilinguals acquire and use their languages for different purposes, in different domains of life, with different people. It is precisely because the needs and uses of the languages are usually quite different that bilinguals rarely develop equal fluency in their languages. The level of fluency attained in a language (more precisely, in a language skill) will depend on the need for that language and will be domain specific. It is thus perfectly normal to find bilinguals who can only read and write one of their languages, who have reduced speaking fluency in a language they only use with a limited number of people, or who can only speak about a particular subject in one of their languages.
The failure to understand that bilinguals normally use their languages for different purposes, with different people and in different domains of life has been a major obstacle to obtaining a clear picture of bilinguals and has had many negative consequences: bilinguals have been described and evaluated in terms of the fluency and balance they have in their two languages; language skills in bilinguals have almost always been appraised in terms of monolingual standards; research on bilingualism has in large part been conducted in terms of the bilingual's individual and separate languages; and, finally, many bilinguals evaluate their language competencies as inadequate. Some criticize their mastery of language skills, others strive their hardest to reach monolingual norms, others hide their knowledge of their "weaker" language, and most simply do not perceive themselves as being bilingual even though they use two (or more) languages in their everyday lives.
Bilinguals are now starting to be viewed not so much as the sum of two (or more) complete or incomplete monolinguals but rather as specific and fully competent speaker-hearers who have developed a communicative competence that is equal, but different in nature, to that of monolinguals. They make use of one language, of the other, or of the two together depending on the situation, the topic, the interlocutor, etc. This in turn has led to a re-definition of the procedure used to evaluate the bilingual's competencies. Bilinguals are starting to be studied in terms of their total language repertoire, and the domains of use and the functions of the bilingual's various languages are now being taken into account.
We should note finally that as the environment changes and the needs for particular language skills also change, so will the bilingual's competence in his or her various language skills. New situations, new interlocutors, new language functions will involve new linguistic needs and will therefore change the language configuration of the person involved. Extreme cases of restructuring are language forgetting and a return to functional monolingualism, be it in the person's first, second or third language.
b) The bilingual's language modes
In their everyday lives, bilinguals find themselves at various points along a situational continuum which induce different language modes. At one end, bilinguals are in a totally monolingual mode in that they are speaking (or signing or writing) to monolinguals of one - or the other - of the languages that they know. At the other end, bilinguals are in a bilingual language mode in that they are communicating with bilinguals who share their two languages and with whom they normally mix languages (i.e. code-switch and borrow; see below). We will refer to the two end points of the continuum when speaking of the monolingual or bilingual language modes, but we should keep in mind that these are end points and that intermediary modes do exist.
In the monolingual language mode, bilinguals choose the language of the monolingual interlocutor(s) and deactivate as best they can their other language(s). In fact, deactivation of the other language is rarely total as is clearly seen in the interferences bilinguals produce (these are also known as between-language deviations). An interference is a speaker-specific deviation from the language being spoken due to the influence of the other "deactivated" language. Interferences can occur at all levels of language (phonological, lexical, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic) and in all modalities (spoken, written or sign). They are of two kinds: static interferences which reflect permanent traces of one language on the other (such as a permanent accent, the meaning extensions of particular words, specific syntactic structures, etc.) and dynamic interferences which are the ephemeral intrusions of the other language (as in the case of the accidental slip on the stress pattern of a word due to the stress rules of the other language, the momentary use of a syntactic structure taken from the language not being spoken, etc.). Examples of interferences produced by a French person speaking English are as follows. At the phonetic level, pronouncing "Sank evven for dees" instead of "Thank heaven for this"; at the lexical level, using "corns" (from French "cornes") instead of "horns" in "Look at the corns on that animal!"; at the syntactic level, saying "I saw this on the page five" (instead of "on page five"), and in writing, misspelling "adress" or "appartment" (based on the French "adresse" and "appartement"). In addition, if one of the bilingual's languages is mastered only to a certain level of proficiency, deviations due to the person's interlanguage (known as within-language deviations) will also occur. These include overgeneralizations (for example, taking irregular verbs and treating them as if they were regular), simplifications (dropping pluralization and tense markers, omitting functions words, simplifying the syntax, etc.) as well as hypercorrections and the avoidance of certain words and expressions. It should be noted that both types of deviations, although sometimes quite apparent (such as a foreign accent), usually do not interfere with communication. This is because bilinguals develop their languages to the level of fluency required by the environment. Deviations in bilingual speech are thus of the same nature as slips of the tongue and hesitation phenomena. They are present but do not usually affect communication.
In the bilingual language mode, bilinguals first adopt a language to use together, what is known as the "base language" (also the "host" or "matrix" language). Language choice is a well-learned behavior (a bilingual rarely asks the conscious question, "Which language should I be using with this person?") but it is also a very complex phenomenon which only becomes apparent when it breaks down. Usually, bilinguals go through their daily interactions with other bilinguals quite unaware of the many psychological and sociolinguistic factors that interact to help them choose one language over another. Once a base language has been chosen, bilinguals can bring in the other language (the "guest" or "embedded" language) in various ways. One of these ways is to code-switch, that is to shift completely to the other language for a word, a phrase, a sentence. (For example, "Va chercher Marc AND BRIBE HIM avec un chocolat chaud WITH CREAM ON TOP (Go get Marc and bribe him with a hot chocolate with cream on top)). Code-switching has long been stigmatized, and has been given a number of pejorative names such as Franglais (the switching between French and English) or Tex-Mex (the switching between English and Spanish in the southwestern part of the United States). The consequence of this has been that some bilinguals never switch while others restrict it to situations in which they will not be stigmatized for doing so. Recent research has shown that switching is not simply a haphazard behavior due to some form of "semilingualism" but that it is, instead, a well governed process used as a communicative strategy to convey linguistic and social information (Heller, 1988; Myers-Scotton, 1993; Poplack, 1980).
The other, less activated, language can also be brought in by borrowing a word or short expression from that language and adapting it morphologically (and often phonologically) into the base language. Most often both the form and the content of a word are borrowed (to produce what has been called a loanword or more simply a borrowing) as in the following examples taken from French-English bilinguals: "Ca m'étonnerait qu'on ait CODE-SWITCHÉ autant que ça" (I can't believe we code-switched as often as that) and "Maman, tu peux me TIER /taie/ mes chaussures" (Mummy, can you tie my shoes?). In these examples, the English words "code-switch" and "tie" have been brought in and integrated into the French sentence. It is important to distinguish idiosyncratic loans (also called "speech borrowings" or "nonce borrowings") from words which have become part of a language community's vocabulary and which monolinguals also use (called "language borrowings" or "established loans"). Thus, in the following text, every third or fourth word is an established loan from French which has now become part of the English language: "The POET lived in the DUKE'S MANOR. That day, he PAINTED, played MUSIC and wrote POEMS with his COMPANIONS."
c) The psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics of bilingualism
The psycholinguistics of bilingualism is aimed at studying the processes involved in the production, perception, comprehension and memorization of the bilingual's languages (spoken, written or signed) when used in a monolingual or a bilingual language mode. Until recently the emphasis has been put on the independence of the bilingual's languages (how does the bilingual keep the two languages separate? does the bilingual have one or two lexicons?) to the detriment of issues such as the on-line processing of language, be it in a monolingual or in a bilingual language mode. Much research was conducted, for example, on the coordinate-compound-subordinate distinction. Another area of considerable investigation examined whether bilinguals possess one or two internal lexicons.
A third issue of interest was the ability of bilinguals to keep their two languages separate in the monolingual mode. Researchers postulated the existence of a language switch which allows bilinguals to gate out the other language, and experimental studies were conducted, to no effect, to find evidence for this proposal.
Now that it is more generally accepted that the bilingual is not two monolinguals in one person, but a unique speaker-hearer using one language, the other language, or both together depending on the interlocutor, situation, topic, etc. (see above), current psycholinguistic research is trying to understand the processing of language in the bilingual's different language modes (Vaid, 1986; Harris, 1992). Researchers are studying how bilinguals in the monolingual mode differ from monolinguals in terms of perception and production processes, and they are investigating the actual interaction of the two languages during processing in the bilingual mode (see Grosjean, 1988, for an example of this).
As concerns the neurolinguistics of bilingualism, researchers have long been interested in describing how language is organized in the "bilingual brain" and how this organization differs from that of the monolingual. One approach has been to observe and test bilingual aphasics in order to better understand which languages have been affected by brain injury and which factors best account for the different patterns of recovery of the languages. Another approach has been to study normal bilinguals to ascertain whether language processing occurs mainly in the left hemisphere of the brain (as it appears to do in monolinguals) or in both hemispheres. Until a few years ago, and based on case studies of bilingual aphasics and on experimental results, some researchers proposed that bilinguals use the right hemisphere in language processing more than monolinguals. However, after further studies that were better controlled, there appears to be clear evidence that monolinguals and bilinguals do not differ at all in hemispheric involvement during language processing. (See Zatorre, 1989, for a review of the question). Finally, on the subject of language organization in the bilingual brain, most researchers agree that the bilingual's languages are not stored in completely different locations. In addition, it would appear that bilinguals have two subsets of neural connections, one for each language (each can be activated or inhibited independently) while at the same time possessing one larger set from which they are able to draw elements of either language at any time (Paradis, 1989). This said, the bilingual brain is still very much terra incognita, and only further experimental and clinical research will tell us how similar it is to the monolingual brain and in what ways it may be different.
d) The psychology of bilinguals
Several surveys have shown that either bilinguals have no strong feelings about their bilingualism (it is simply a fact of life!) or that they see more advantages than inconveniences in having to live with two (or more) languages. Most appreciate being able to communicate with people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, others feel that bilingualism gives them a different perspective on life, that it fosters open-mindedness, allows one to read and often write in a different language, makes learning other languages easier, gives more job opportunities, etc. As for inconveniences, these are less numerous and involve such aspects as mixing languages involuntarily, having to adjust to different cultures, feeling one is losing one of the languages one possesses (usually a minority language) or having to act as a translator on various occasions. It is interesting to compare these reactions to the attitudes and feelings that monolinguals have towards bilingualism. These are extremely varied, ranging from very positive attitudes (such as wonder at the fact that some bilinguals can speak and write two or more languages fluently) to very negative attitudes (such as surprise that many bilinguals do not master their two languages perfectly, that they cannot translate automatically from one language to another, etc.). It should be noted that most of the views that monolinguals have about bilinguals are usually based on socio-economic and cultural considerations rather than on linguistic factors.
We know little about the languages used by bilinguals in their mental activities or how bilinguals react when under stress or in an emotional situation. It does seem to be the case that some mental operations are language specific. Thus, bilinguals usually count and pray in the language in which they learned these behaviors. Thinking or dreaming can also be language specific (although they can at times be alinguistic) and depend on the person, the situation and the topic involved (see above). When tired, angry or excited, bilinguals will often revert back to their mother tongue or to whatever language they usually express their emotions in. Stress may also cause more interference, problems in finding the appropriate words, and unintentional switching. In addition, it has been reported that bilinguals wish that the monolinguals closest to them (spouse, companion, friends) were also bilingual.
It has been reported by some bilinguals that when they change attitudes and behaviors when they change language. This has been alluded to quite frequently in the literature: some bilinguals seem to hold slightly different views depending on the language they are speaking; some others are more authoritarian in one of their languages; others still are more reserved or gentle, etc. Is it possible to conclude from this that there is some truth to the Czech proverb, "Learn a new language and get a new soul"? Some would answer in the affirmative and go as far as to say that the bilingual has a split personality. In fact, there appears to be no real evidence that bilinguals suffer any more from mental disorders than monolinguals. In fact, what is seen as a change in personality is simply a shift in attitudes and behaviors corresponding to a shift in situation or context, independent of language. As we saw above, bilinguals will choose a language according to the situation, the interlocutor, the topic and the intent of the conversations. These factors trigger different attitudes, impressions and behaviors (just as they do in monolinguals who modify the content and form of their discourse depending on the context), and thus what is seen as a personality change due to language shift may really be a shift in the situation and interlocutor. In a word, it is the environment as a whole that causes the bilingual to change languages, along with attitudes, feelings and behaviors - and not language as such. The main difference between monolinguals and bilinguals in this respect is that bilinguals often shift languages (and hence appear to be different people) whereas monolinguals do not. In addition, bilinguals are often switching from one culture to another in their interactions (many are bicultural) whereas monolinguals usually remain within the same culture.
2. THE BICULTURAL PERSON
Much less is known about biculturalism than bilingualism even though one sees the term "bicultural" almost as often as the word "bilingual". And yet many people are bicultural, although they are not as numerous as bilinguals, and many of the "advantages" or "disadvantages" of bilingualism are, in fact, tied to biculturalism and not to bilingualism. We should note at this point that bilingualism and biculturalism are not necessarily coextensive. Many people are bilingual without being bicultural (members of diglossic communities, inhabitants of countries that have lingua francas, etc.) and, similarly, some people are bicultural without being bilingual (members of a minority culture who no longer know the minority language but who retain other aspects of that culture, for example). In this part, which is based largely on Grosjean (1983, 1992), we will describe the bicultural person, discuss bicultural identity and evoke bicultural behavior.
a) Describing the bicultural
When we attempt to define the bicultural person, it is important to explain what we mean by culture. For our purpose here, culture reflects all the facets of life of a group of people: its organization, its rules, its behaviors, its beliefs, its values, its traditions, etc. As humans, we belong to a number of cultures (or cultural networks): major cultures (national, linguistic, social, religious, etc.) and minor cultures (occupation, sport, hobby, etc.). What is interesting is that some cultures are complementary (it is permissible to belong to several or all of these at the same time) whereas others are mutually exclusive (belonging to one and the other is unacceptable and thereby raises problems; thus it was practically impossible during World War II to be both Japanese and American just as it is currently difficult to be both Croatian and Serb). In what follows, we will concentrate on people who belong to two major (often mutually exclusive) cultures.
Biculturals can be characterized by at least three traits: they live in two or more cultures, they adapt, at least in part, to these cultures (their attitudes, behaviors, values, etc.) and they blend aspects of these cultures. This latter point is important as it means that not all behaviors, beliefs and attitudes can be modified according to the cultural situation the bicultural person is currently in. The French-German bicultural, for example, blends aspects of both the French and of the German culture and cannot, therefore, be 100% French in France and 100% German in Germany, however hard he or she tries. This aspect is a differentiating factor between bilingualism and biculturalism: bilinguals can usually deactivate one language and only use the other in certain situations (at least to a very great extent), whereas biculturals cannot always deactivate certain traits of their other culture when in a monocultural environment. Other criteria have been put forward to define the bicultural such as accepting one's bicultural status, having a good understanding of a second culture, being born bicultural, etc., but these are probably not as important as the three we have put forward: living in two cultures, adapting to them and, finally, blending aspects of each. Of course, the balanced bicultural who is as much part of one culture as of another is as rare as the balanced bilingual who is as fluent in all skills of one language as of another. Most biculturals have stronger ties with one culture than with another (at least in certain domains of life) but this in no way makes them less bicultural.
b) Bicultural identity
An important aspect of biculturalism, especially for bicultural children and adolescents, concerns the acceptance of one's bicultural identity. To be able to reach the point of saying, "I am bicultural, a member of both culture A and of culture B", a bicultural person often has to go through a long and often trying, process. On the one hand, members of the two different cultures assess, indirectly of course, whether a person belongs to their culture or not by taking into account such factors as kinship, language, physical appearance, nationality, education, attitudes, etc. This double categorization, by each of the two cultural groups, can produce similar results (X is judged to belong solely to culture A or to culture B) or contradictory results (X is categorized as a member of culture A by members of culture B and as a member of culture B by members of culture A). Not only is this latter categorization contradictory but it is often absolute in the sense that cultures do not readily accept that a person can be part of their culture and also part of another culture. The attitude is either "You are A" or "You are B" but rarely "You are A and B".
Faced with this dual categorization, which is quite often contradictory, biculturals have to reach a decision as to their own cultural identity. To do this they take into account the perception that the two cultures have of them and bring in other factors such as their personal history, their identity needs, their knowledge of the languages and cultures involved, etc. The outcome of this long process is a decision to belong solely to culture A, to belong solely to culture B, to belong to neither culture A nor culture B, or to belong to both culture A and culture B. Of course, the optimal solution for biculturals is to opt for the fourth solution, that is to accept their biculturalism, but unfortunately many biculturals, influenced as they are by the categorization of the cultural groups they belong to, choose one of the first three alternatives (A, B, neither A nor B). These solutions are not usually satisfactory as they do not truly reflect the bicultural person and they may have negative consequences later on. Those who choose either culture A or culture B (that is, turn away from their other culture) are often dissatisfied with their decision, and those who reject both cultures feel uprooted, marginal or ambivalent. In the end, after a long and sometimes arduous process, most biculturals come to terms with their biculturalism. The lucky ones can belong to a new cultural group (see the many hyphenated groups in North America) and most others, who are isolated biculturals, will ultimately navigate with a certain degree of ease between and within their cultures.
c) Bicultural behavior
One knows very little about the bicultural's cultural behavior: which aspects of a culture are adaptable to a specific cultural situation and which are not; how biculturals interact with the two (or more) cultures they belong to; how they switch from one culture to another, etc. What is sure is that, like bilinguals, they often find themselves at various points along a situational continuum which require different types of behavior. At one end, they are in a monocultural mode and must deactivate as best they can their other culture. (The blending component in biculturals makes this very difficult, hence the frequent presence of cultural interferences). At the other end, they are with other biculturals like themselves with whom they use a cultural base to interact with (the behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, etc. of one culture) and into which they bring the other culture in the form of cultural switches and borrowings when they choose to.
3. THE DEAF BILINGUAL AND BICULTURAL PERSON
In this final part, which is based largely on Grosjean (1992), we will describe the Deaf bilingual and the Deaf bicultural, and we will end with implications for the bilingual and bicultural education of Deaf children.
a) The Deaf bilingual
Bilingualism in the Deaf community remains a poorly understood topic despite the fact that most Deaf people are indeed bilingual. (On this topic, see among others, Battison, 1978; Bernstein, Maxwell and Matthews, 1985; Davis, 1989; Frishberg, 1984; Grosjean, 1986, 1992; Kannapel, 1974; Kettrick and Hatfield, 1986; Lee, 1983; Lucas, 1989; Lucas and Valli, 1992; Stokoe, 1969; Volterra and Erting, 1990). The bilingualism present is a form of minority language bilingualism in which the members of the Deaf community acquire and use both the minority language (sign language) and the majority language in its written form and sometimes in its spoken or even signed form. (We will use the labels "sign language" and "majority language" throughout our text as we do not want to restrict ourselves to the case of one language pair, e.g. ASL and English, FSL (LSF) and French, etc.). Sign language bilingualism can, of course, also involve the knowledge and use of two or more different sign languages but this form of bilingualism is less common in the Deaf community and has been the object of fewer studies. Thus, given the definition of bilingualism presented above, most Deaf people who sign and who use the majority language in their everyday lives (in its written form, for example) are indeed bilingual.
Deaf bilinguals share many similarities with hearing bilinguals. First, they are very diverse. Depending on their degree of hearing loss, the language(s) used in childhood, their education, their occupation, their social networks, etc., they have developed competencies in their languages (sign language and the majority language) to varying degrees. This, of course, is no different from hearing bilinguals who are also very diverse in their knowledge and use of their languages. Second, most Deaf bilinguals do not judge themselves to be bilingual. In some countries, some Deaf people may not be aware that sign language is different from the majority language, and in general many Deaf do not think they are bilingual because they do not fully master all the skills that accompany the majority language (or, at times, the sign language). This is a well-known phenomenon found among many bilinguals, be they hearing or Deaf, who have a tendency to evaluate their language competencies as inadequate. Some criticize their mastery of language skills, others strive their hardest to reach monolingual norms, others hide their knowledge of their "weaker" language, and most simply do not perceive themselves as being bilingual even though they use two (or more) languages regularly. Third, like hearing bilinguals, Deaf bilinguals find themselves in their everyday lives at various points along the language mode continuum. When they are communicating with monolinguals they restrict themselves to just one language and are therefore in a monolingual mode. They deactivate the other language and remain, as best they can, within the confines of the language being used (for example, a written form of the majority language). At other times, Deaf bilinguals find themselves in a bilingual mode, that is with other bilinguals who share to some extent their two languages - sign language and the majority language - and with whom they can mix their languages. Here, depending on such factors as their knowledge of the two languages, the person(s) being addressed, the situation, the topic, the function of the interaction, etc., they choose a base language - usually a form of sign language (the natural sign language of the community or a signed version of the spoken language). Then, according to various momentary needs, and by means of signing, fingerspelling, mouthing, etc., they bring in the other language in the form of code-switches or borrowings. The result has recently been called contact signing (Lucas and Valli, 1992).
Although the bilingualism of the Deaf shares many characteristics with that of hearing people, a number of aspects are specific to the Deaf group. First, until recently there has been little recognition of Deaf people's bilingual status. They are still seen by many as monolingual in the majority language whereas in fact many are bilingual in that language and in sign. Second, Deaf bilinguals, because of their hearing loss, will remain bilingual throughout their lives and from generation to generation. This is not always the case with other minority groups who, over the years, can shift to a form of monolingualism (either in the majority language, in the minority language or in some other form of language). Third, and again due to their hearing loss, certain language skills in the majority language (speaking, above all) may never be acquired fully by Deaf bilinguals. Fourth, although movement takes place along the language mode continuum, Deaf bilinguals rarely find themselves at the monolingual sign language end. Thus, unless they are communicating with a monolingual member of the majority language (via the written modality, for example), they will most often be with other bilinguals and will be thus be in a bilingual language mode. Fifth, the patterns of language knowledge and use appear to be somewhat different, and probably more complex, than in spoken language bilingualism. When a sign language bilingual uses sign language with one interlocutor, a form of signed spoken language with another, a mixture of the two with a third, a form of simultaneous communication (sign and speech) with a fourth, etc., the diverse behaviors are the result of a number of complex factors:
a) The bilingual's actual knowledge of the sign language and of the majority language. This competence, in terms of linguistic rules and lexical knowledge, can often be characterized in terms of how prototypical it is.
b) The modalities (or channels) of production: manual (sign, fingerspelling), oral (speech, mouthing with or without voice), written, etc. Some of these modalities are more appropriate for one of the two languages (speech or writing for the majority language) but others, such as the sign modality, can be used, to some extent at least, for one or the other language. How these modalities are combined during the interaction is of particular interest.
c) The presence of the other language in the bilingual communication mode. Here, either one language is chosen as the base language and the other language is called in at various points in time or a third system emerges that combines the two languages (what Lucas and Valli (1992) call contact signing). In both cases, the languages can interact in a sequential manner (as in code-switching) or in a simultaneous manner (signing and mouthing) and can involve various modalities (Frishberg, 1984).
b) The Deaf bicultural
Two questions can be asked about biculturalism in the Deaf community. First, are Deaf people bicultural, and second, if some are, what is being done to help them come to terms with their bicultural identity? As concerns the first question, there is probably little doubt that many Deaf meet the three criteria that we put forward above: They live in two or more cultures (their family, friends, colleagues, etc. are either members of the Deaf community or of the hearing world); they adapt, at least in part, to these cultures; and they blend aspects of these cultures. Of course, such factors as deafness in the family, degree of hearing loss, type of education, etc. may lead some Deaf people to have fewer contacts with the hearing world while others have more (their bicultural dominance can thus differ), but it is nevertheless true that most Deaf people are not only bilingual but also bicultural. (This is also the case for hearing children of Deaf parents and for some hearing people who have developed strong ties with the Deaf community). Of course, most Deaf people are Deaf dominant biculturals in that they identify primarily with the Deaf community but many of them also have ties with the hearing world and interact with it and hence, in a sense, are also members of it. This brings us to the second question: What is being done to help Deaf people come to terms with their bicultural identity? Which in turn raises a number of subsidiary questions: What identity signals are being sent by the two cultures in question? Are they complementary or contradictory? What is the outcome of the identity decision taken by each Deaf person? Does the decision reflect that person's degree of biculturalism? Is the decision the right one for that person? As a hearing researcher with few ties with the Deaf community, I am in no position to give answers to these questions, but I do think that they should be addressed by all concerned.
A number of implications emerge from what we are starting to know about the bilingualism and biculturalism of Deaf people. As concerns their bilingualism, first it is necessary to continue studying its development and its various facets, and to inform parents and educators about it. Too many stereotypes still surround bilingualism, be it between two spoken languages or between a sign language and a spoken language. Second, it is important that Deaf people realize that they are indeed bilingual, that they accept this fact and that they take pride in it. They are not the sum of two complete or incomplete monolinguals but are an integrated whole with a unique communicative competence. Third, it is critical that Deaf children be brought up bilingual - with sign language as their primary language and with the majority language (especially in its written modality) as a second language. How this is done is clearly a challenge for parents, educators and members of the linguistic communities involved2. Children need to learn, among other things, that there are various languages and language modes and that they have to use them, as best they can, at different times and with different interlocutors. They should interact with various people (family, friends, teachers, etc.) with whom they need to use one or the other language and a variety of modes: the sign language monolingual mode with certain Deaf people, the majority language monolingual mode with most members of the hearing majority and, finally, the sign language bilingual mode with other members of their community and with hearing signers. It is important that role models be offered to them for each language and each type of language mode and that they develop a need for each. As is well known, children only become bilingual (whatever the final level attained) if they have to, that is, if their life requires the use of two (or more) languages and language modes.
As for the biculturalism of Deaf people, it is especially important that Deaf children and adolescents be given every opportunity to learn about the cultures they belong to (the Deaf culture primarily but also the hearing culture), that they be able to interact as best they can with these cultures, and that they be able to go through the process of choosing the cultures (or the culture) they wish to identify with. It is the task of parents, family members, educators, and members of the cultures involved to make sure this process takes place as early and as smoothly as possible.
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1. This chapter is based on a talk given at NTID on September 30, 1991 and on preceding publications by the author. Its preparation was made possible by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (12-33582.92). The author wishes to thank Dr. Bill Stokoe for permission to reuse parts of a Sign Language Studies article (Grosjean, 1992). Special thanks go to the following people for their insightful comments at various stages during the preparation of this chapter: Robbin Battison, Penny Boyes-Braem, Christina Edenas-Battison, Nancy Frishberg, Lysiane Grosjean, Harlan Lane, Dominique Mallery-Ruganis, Ila Parasnis and two anonymous reviewers.
2. The aim of this paper is not to raise the issue of bilingual education which is a topic in its own right and the object of much discussion. Without wanting to enter the debate, but in order to respond to a reviewer's questions, it is the author's personal belief that Deaf children should be raised bilingually, that their first language should be sign language and that their second language should be the majority language (especially in its written form). Sign language as a first language is necessary in order to give children a natural language to communicate with as early as possible and to allow full cognitive and social development. It is, in addition, the language of the culture that will be dominant for many Deaf children when they reach adolescence or adulthood, and it is a good base on which to acquire their second language. This second language, the majority language, is also very important as it is the language of most children's parents and of the hearing culture. Because many Deaf children and adolescents have very real problems with the perception and production of speech, it is preferable to concentrate on written skills (reading and writing) so that their level of competence in them can be as high as possible. As for spoken skills, the debate remains open but their acquisition should not be done to the detriment of sign language and written language or, for that matter, of the children's academic education.