Code switching: American Sign Language and Cued English


Sociolinguistic studies on the codeswitching that occurs when American Sign Language (ASL) and English come into contact have claimed that the codeswitching is qualitatively different from spoken language codeswitching (e.g.,Davis 1989, 1990; Lucas and Valli 1989,1992). These studies have focused on the contact between users of ASL and users of spoken English. However, the codeswitching between English in a visual modality- cued American English (hereafter cued English)- and ASL has not been studied. This chapter focuses on the codeswitching of a ten-year-old bilingual deaf girl who is fluent in ASL and cued English. This chapter provides descriptive examples of ASL- cued English codeswitching as well as a discussion on social motivations for and functions of codeswitching. In the first section of this chapter, studies on spoken language codeswitching are introduced, followed by a second section discussing codeswitching in the Deaf community. The third section includes a description of cued English and a review of previous studies on cued languages. Following the review of literature, evidence of ASL-cued English codeswitching is demonstrated and compared with examples of codeswitching in spoken languages. The results of this chapter's study demonstrate that codeswitching between ASL and cued English follows a similar pattern found in spoken language codeswitching.

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Reproduced with permission of Gallaudet University Press, (c) Gallaudet University All Rights Reserved. This material may not be duplicated by others without contacting Gallaudet University Press for permission. Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Department, Program, or Center

American Sign Language and Interpreting Education (NTID)


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