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Bimodal Bilingualism

Dr. Marina Šestić & Dr. Ema Petrović,

Faculty of Special Education and Rehabilitation, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia & Department of Oriental Studies, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

In the recent past, bilingualism among deaf and hard-of-hearing children developed spontaneously thanks to the special schools where these children were taught. Bilingualism in sign language and spoken language or bimodal bilingualism implies knowledge of both languages. Verbalisation or spoken language implies verbal-aural production and communication, while sign language impresses through visual-gestural structures. The hearing population uses both one and the other combination in communication (the non-verbal combination usually complements the verbal), although verbal communication dominates among them. For deaf and hard-of-hearing people, the order of production of both languages is generally reversed (sign communication is primary, verbal communication complements it). The paper aims to determine the specifics of bimodal bilingualism. The methods used in the paper are based on a comparison of available research, evaluation, deduction, induction, and consideration of historical perspective and application of technology based on available literature. Our findings suggest that users who use unimodal or bimodal means of communication include different groups of deaf or hearing people. In contrast to the sign language of the deaf and hard of hearing, which is mainly based on the use of conventional gestures, the non-verbal communication of hearing people is mostly limited to the use of natural, spontaneous gestures.

Keywords: Sign Language, Deaf People, Bilingualism, Unimodal Communication

 The above abstract is a part of the article which was accepted at The Ninth International Conference on Languages, Linguistics, Translation and Literature (WWW.LLLD.IR), 1-2 February 2024, Ahwaz.