Linguistic Portraits of Children of Deaf Families: Representations of a Signed Heritage Language




bilingualism, children of deaf adults, linguistic identity, heritage languages, sign languages


Hearing people from Deaf families, called Children of Deaf Adults (CODA), can acquire their signed heritage language and embrace their cultural identity. However, the question is how they manage to do so, being hearing in a world where invisibilization and stigmatization of their family language and culture are commonplace. The aim of this article is to show how the identity construction of the CODA person is related to the identification with his or her heritage language and culture. The research method followed a phenomenological, interpretative design, with semi-structured interviews with twenty-two adult coda people in Spain. The study reveals their representations of their linguistic repertoires through linguistic portraits. The contributions of this research open new questions about the purposes of heritage languages. The linguistic and cultural legacy of the Deaf community, which has been denied in the Deaf parents' generation, may persist through the family connection to the heritage language and culture in the second generation. This research supports the conceptualization of the heritage speaker from a cultural and not just a linguistic point of view.

= 219 veces | PDF (ESPAÑOL (ESPAÑA))
= 87 veces| | EPUB (ESPAÑOL (ESPAÑA))
= 6 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Stephanie Papin, Rey Juan Carlos University

Visiting Professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain.


Austin, J. (1970). Quand dire, c´est faire. Seuil.

Báez Montero, I. C. y Otero Doval, H. (Eds.) (2015). Buscando respuestas en lengua de signos. Axac.

Batterbury, S., Ladd, P. y Gulliver, M. S. (2007). Sign language peoples as indigenous minorities: Implications for research and policy. Environment and Planning A. Economy and Space, 39(12), 2899-2915.

Beaudrie, S., Ducar, C. y Potowski, K. (2014). General sociolinguistic considerations. En S. Beaudrie, C. Ducar, y K. Potowski, Heritage language teaching: Research and practice (pp. 17-35). McGraw-Hill Education.

Billiez, J. (1985). La langue comme marqueur d’identité. Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales, 1(2), 95-105.

Bloon, E., y Polinsky, M. (2015). Del silencio a la palabra: el empoderamiento de los hablantes de lenguas de herencia en el siglo XXI. Observatorio de la Lengua Española y las Culturas Hispánicas en los Estados Unidos [informe]. Instituto Cervantes y Facultad de Artes y Ciencias de Harvard University.

Bolinger, D. y Sears, D. (1981). Aspects of language (3.a ed.). Heinle & Heinle.

Bourdieu, P. y Botlansky, L. (1975). Le fétichisme de la langue. Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, 1(4), 2-32.

Boyer, H. (2017). Bilinguisme/diglossie : quel(s) modèle(s) de traitement des plurilinguismes ? En Introduction à la sociolinguistique (cap. 4, pp. 67-84). Dunod.

Calvet, L-J. (1974). Linguistique et colonialisme. Petit traité de glottophagie. Payot.

Cho, G., Cho, K. y Tse, L. (1997). Why ethnic minorities want to develop their heritage language: The case of Korean-Americans. Language Culture and Curriculum, 10(2), 106-112.

Emmorey, K. (2018). Variation in late L1 acquisition? Bilingualism (Cambridge, England), 21(5), 917-918.

Fernández Rodríguez, M. (2000). Cuando los hablantes se niegan a elegir: multilingüismo e identidad múltiple en la modernidad reflexiva. Estudios de Sociolingüística: Linguas, Sociedades e Culturas, 1(1), 47-58.

Fishman, J. (2001). 300-plus years of heritage language education in the United States. En J. K. Peyton, D. A. Randar y S. McGinnis (Eds.), Heritage languages in America. Preserving a national resource (pp. 81-98). Washington: Delta Systems, and McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Gardy, P. y Lafont, R. (1981). La diglossie comme conflit ; l´exemple occitan. Bilinguisme et diglossie. Langages, (61), 75-92.

Gathercole, V. C. M. y Thomas, E. M. (2009). Bilingual first-language development: Dominant language takeover, threatened minority language take-up. Bilingualism (Cambridge, England), 12(2), 213-237.

Grosjean, F. (1984). Le bilinguisme: vivre avec deux langues. Travaux Neuchâtelois de Linguistique (Tranel), (7), 15-42.

Hinton, L. (1999). Trading tongues: Loss of heritage languages in the United States. English Today, 15(4), 21-30.

Hoffmeister, R. (2008). Border crossings by hearing children of deaf parents: The lost history of CODAs. En H. L. Bauman (Ed.), Open your eyes: Deaf studies talking (pp. 189-215). University of Minnesota Press.

Isakson, S. K. (2018). The case for heritage ASL instruction for hearing heritage signers. Sign Language Studies, 18(3), 385-411.

Jodelet, D. (2007). Place de l´expérience vécue dans le processus de formation des représentations sociales. En Les savoirs du quotidien. Transmissions, Appropriations, Représentations (pp. 235-255). Les Presses universitaires de Rennes.

Kanto, L., Laakso, M. y Huttunen, K. (2017). Use of code-mixing by young hearing children of Deaf parents. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20(5), 947-964.

Kasuya, H. (1998). Determinants of language choice in bilingual children: The role of input. International Journal of Bilingualism, 2(3), 327-346.

Kochman, T. (1981). Black and white styles in conflict. University of Chicago Press.

Kremnitz, G. (1981). Du «bilinguisme » au « conflit linguistique». Cheminement de termes et de concepts. Langages, 15(61), 63-74.

Kusters, A. y De Meulder, M. (2019). Language portraits: Investigating embodied multilingual and multimodal repertoires. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(3).

Le Page, R. y Tabouret-Keller, A. (1985). Acts of identity: Creole-based approaches to language and ethnicity. Cambridge University Press.

Leeman, J., Rabin, L. y Román-Mendoza, E. (2011). Identity and activism in heritage language education. Modern Language Journal, 95(4), 481-495.

Mannoni, P. (2012). Les représentations sociales (6.ª ed.). Presses Universitaires de France.

Maurer, B. (2013). Représentations sociales des langues en situation multilingue. La méthode d´analyse combinée, nouvel outil d´enquête. Archives contemporaines.

Memmi, A. (1957). Portrait du colonisé précédé de Portrait du colonisateur. Editions Corréa.

Minoura, Y. (1992). A sensitive period for the incorporation of a cultural meaning system: A study of Japanese children growing up in the United States. Ethos, 20(3), 304-339.

Myers, S., Myers, R. y Marcus, A. (2010). Hearing children of deaf parents: Issues and interventions within a bicultural context. En I. Leigh (Ed.), Psychotherapy with deaf clients from diverse groups (pp. 109-135). Gallaudet University Press.

Ninyoles, R. (1988). Conflicte lingüístic valencià: substitució lingüística i ideologies diglòssiques. Eliseu Climent.

Pearson, B. Z. (2007). Social factors in childhood bilingualism in the United States. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28(3), 399–410.

Phinney, J., Horenczyk, G., Liebkind, K. y Vedder, P. (2001). Ethnic identity, immigration, and wellbeing: An interactional perspective. Journal of Social Issues, 57(3), 493-510.

Pizer, G., Walters, K. y Meier, R. (2013). “We communicated that way for a reason”: Language practices and language ideologies among hearing adults whose parents are deaf. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 18(1), 75-92.

Polinsky, M. (2015). Heritage languages and their speakers: State of the field, challenges, perspectives for future work, and methodologies. Zeitschrift Fuer Fremdsprachwissenschaft, 26(1), 7-27.

Polinsky, M. (2018). Sign languages in the context of heritage language: A new direction in language research. Sign Language Studies, 18(3), 412-428.

Polinsky, M. y Kagan, O. (2007). Heritage languages: In the “wild” and in the classroom: Heritage languages: In the “wild” and in the classroom. Language and Linguistics Compass, 1(5), 368-395.

Preston, P. (1994). Mother father deaf: Living between sound and silence. Harvard University Press.

Reynolds, W. (2016). Early bimodal bilingual development of ASL narrative referent cohesion: Using a heritage language framework [Dissertation]. Gallaudet University.

Schüpbach, D. (2009). Language transmission revisited: Family type, linguistic environment and language attitudes. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 12(1), 15-30.

Singleton, J. y Tittle, M. (2000). Deaf parents and their hearing children. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 5(3), 221-236.

Tabouret-Keller, A. (2013). Factors of constraints and freedom in setting a language policy for the European Community: A sociolinguistic approach. A language policy for the European community: Prospects and quandaries. De Gruyter Mouton, 45-58.

Valdés, G. (2000). The teaching of heritage languages: An introduction for Slavic-teaching professionals. En O. Kagan y B. Rifkin (Eds.), The learning and teaching of Slavic languages and cultures (pp. 375-403). Slavica Pub.

Van Deusen-School, N. (2003). Toward a definition of heritage language: Sociopolitical and pedagogical considerations. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 2(3), 211-230.

Verma-Shivendra, K. (1990). My mother tongue is not my mother´s tongue. En G. Gagne, M. Page y E. Tarrab (Dirs.), Didactique des langues maternelle (p. 82-84). De Boeck.



How to Cite

Papin, S. (2024). Linguistic Portraits of Children of Deaf Families: Representations of a Signed Heritage Language. Íkala, Revista De Lenguaje Y Cultura, 29(2), 1–21.