College of Liberal Arts 2020 Best Master’s Thesis

Kari SpectorCongratulations Kari Spector on winning the College of Liberal Arts 2020 Best Master’s Thesis.

In her thesis research, Kari analyzed data obtained from Deaf-parented elementary school-aged children who can hear, referred to as Koda. The participants are fluent in English and American Sign Language (ASL), also known as bimodal bilinguals.

She studied their narratives, focusing on code-blending and semantic propositions.  She found that the children were more likely to produce single-sign code-blends with verbs as opposed to nouns, similar to what previous studies have found with adults. She also found cases where children produced multi-sign code-blends containing more than one verb. This could be a verb and depictive verb blended in the same utterance, two separate verbs blended in the same sentence, or verb repetition in which speech matched the aspectual morphology of the sign. The results echo findings on bimodal bilingual toddlers—as the children increase in age, the amount of code-blended utterances increases as well.

Kari recently presented her thesis research with Dr. Wanette Reynolds at the Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research conference in Hamburg, Germany (pictured).