Quantitative and qualitative aspects of switching between Estonian Sign Language and spoken Estonian

Kadri Hein


The central research question of the present paper is ‘What variables influence switching (code-switching and code-blending) between Estonian Sign Language and spoken Estonian among bimodal bilinguals in a school environment?’ The data from guided discussions involving deaf and hearing students indicated that bimodal bilinguals predominantly code-blend, i.e. simultaneously produce speech and signs. The main function of switching among the students was to emphasise a constituent in a clause, but they also switched to express themselves in an original way. In some utterances, it proved difficult to apply a single function to a switch, thus a sequential turn-by-turn analysis was employed. A deaf student’s level of switching was influenced most by the hearing status of the interlocutor, and the amount of switching by the interlocutor.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5128/ERYa9.03


sociolinguistics, bimodal bilingualism, code-switching, code-blending, Estonian Sign Language

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5128/ERYa9.03


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ISSN 1736-2563 (print)
ISSN 2228-0677 (online)
DOI 10.5128/ERYa.1736-2563