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Applied Linguistics Review

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Investigating deaf children’s plural and diverse use of sign and spoken languages in a super diverse context

Ruth Swanwick / Sue Wright / Jackie Salter
Published Online: 2016-05-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2016-0009


This paper examines the meaning of plurality and diversity with respect to deaf children’s sign and spoken language exposure and repertoire within a super diverse context. Data is drawn from a small-scale project that took place in the North of England in a Local Authority (LA) site for deaf education. The project documented the language landscape of this site and gathered five individual case studies of deaf children to examine their plural and diverse language practices at home and at school. Analysis of the language landscape and case studies from this context is undertaken in order to define and exemplify deaf children’s language plurality and diversity in terms of context and individual experience. Concepts of repertoire are explored with particular reference to the unique type of translanguaging that the plural use of sign and spoken languages affords. Implications of these preliminary insights are discussed in terms of the development of methodologies that are sensitive to the particular translanguaging practices of deaf children, and approaches to pedagogy that are appropriately nuanced and responsive to deaf children’s language plurality and diversity.

Keywords: deaf; bimodal; bilingual; plurality; diversity; translanguaging; repertoire


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-05-31

Published in Print: 2016-06-01

Funding: This project was supported by the British Academy under Grant number MD130070. No financial benefits have arisen from this research and there are no conflicts of interest.

Citation Information: Applied Linguistics Review, Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 117–147, ISSN (Online) 1868-6311, ISSN (Print) 1868-6303, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2016-0009.

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