From Sign to Word: Considering Modality Constraints in ASL/English Bilingual Education

Jenny L. Singleton, Samuel Supalla, Sharon Litchfield, Sara Schley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


As the bilingual education movement receives greater attention within deaf education settings, a theoretical framework for organizing and implementing the American Sign Language (ASL) and English learning experiences among deaf students has not been fully articulated in the literature to date. In this article, the traditional notion of ASL/English bilingualism is critically examined. This model is then contrasted with the "ASL/English as a spoken language" bilingual model in which the modality constraints facing the deaf child are presented as the fundamental issue for ASL/English bilingualism. Empirical and applied research supporting this modality-constrained bilingual model is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-29
Number of pages14
JournalTopics in Language Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • American Sign Language
  • Bilingual education
  • Deaf education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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