AcqVA Colloquium (NTNU) – 2021-2022

AcqVA Colloquium will continue in Spring 2022.

The talks will take place either virtually on Zoom, or on Dragvoll campus.


June 23 at 12:15-13:30 in 4402D (Dragvoll campus)

Professor Diane Lillo-Martin, UCONN

Bimodal Bilingual Code-Blending: Possibilities and Constraints

Bimodal bilinguals employ languages in two modalities: a sign language and a spoken language. Like other bilinguals, their language output displays bilingualism effects, among which is code-blending, the bimodal analogue to code-switching (Emmorey et al., 2008; Quadros et al., 2020). In code-blending, two languages are produced simultaneously, one on the hands and one on the mouth. However, code-blending is highly constrained.

In an effort to better understand what the constraints on code-blending are, we have administered both production and acceptability judgment tasks to adult bimodal bilinguals. We find that there are both meaning-based and structure-based constraints.

An overarching principle of code-blending is that whatever is produced in the two modalities contributes to a single proposition. However, this does not mean that the two languages are expressing the same message at the same time. Rather, they co-construct meaning. Either language can provide more content, and which conveys more can shift mid-utterance.

Another property of code-blending is that the two languages do not necessarily fully match in syntactic structure, but they also cannot use conflicting structures. We interpret this as what we call language ‘synthesis’ (Koulidobrova, 2012; Lillo-Martin et al., 2016). Specifically, we propose that a single structural derivation is generated, using functional categories drawn from either and both languages. This abstract representation is then realized using the two modalities to express various parts of the utterance.

In the presentation, I will discuss the data from both production and judgment tasks that help to refine our understanding of bilingual language output possibilities.

References cited

Emmorey, K., Borinstein, H. B., Thompson, R., & Gollan, T. H. (2008). Bimodal bilingualism. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition11(1), 43–61. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728907003203

Koulidobrova, E. (2012). When the quiet surfaces: ‘Transfer’ of Argument Omission in the Speech of ASL-English Bilinguals [University of Connecticut]. https://www.proquest.com/docview/1223343021

Lillo-Martin, D., Quadros, R. M. de, & Chen Pichler, D. (2016). The development of bimodal bilingualism: Implications for linguistic theory. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism6(6), 719–755. https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.6.6.01lil

Quadros, R. M. de, Davidson, K., Lillo-Martin, D., & Emmorey, K. (2020). Code-blending with depicting signs. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism10(2). https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.17043.qua


Check out the colloquia form previous semesters:

Fall 2020 and Spring 2021

Fall 2019 and Spring 2020

Spring 2019

Fall 2018