The view of sign languages as bounded systems is often important for deaf community empowerment and for pedagogical practice in terms of supporting deaf children’s language acquisition and second language learners’ communicative competence. Conversely, the notion of translanguaging in the American Sign Language (ASL) community highlights a number of recurring tensions related to standard language ideology and English-based sign systems in deaf education; these tensions can work to obscure the polyglot nature of ASL itself. This paper reports how translingual practices were embedded in an ethnographic action research study of developing and field-testing an ASL curriculum for parents of young deaf children that is aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). In this study of teaching parents classical ASL varieties, translingual practices were highlighted where ASL and the visual code of English are regularly in contact with and influence each other in signers’ multimodal repertoires. This data illustrate the history of translanguaging in ASL communities and points to the importance of preserving historic deaf community language practices.

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Keywords American sign language, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), deaf education, parents, second language learning
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Journal International Journal of Multilingualism
Snoddon, K. (2017). Uncovering translingual practices in teaching parents classical ASL varieties. International Journal of Multilingualism, 1–14. doi:10.1080/14790718.2017.1315812