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Title:"I was like 'oh my God, los dos'": Code-switching in conversations with a bilingual adult on the autism spectrum
Author(s):Angulo Jimenez, Henry Giovanny
Director of Research:DeThorne, Laura
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):DeThorne, Laura
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Johnson, Cynthia; Yu, Betty; Channell, Marie
Department / Program:Speech & Hearing Science
Discipline:Speech & Hearing Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Conversation Analysis
Speech-Language Pathology
Abstract:Faced with an autism diagnosis, parents from ethnolinguistic minorities and the professionals who serve them often experience concerns about the suitability and viability of raising autistic children to be bilingual (Angulo-Jiménez, 2018; Lund et al., 2017; Yu, 2018). They fear that exposing these children to more than one language may cause linguistic confusion, exacerbate difficulties, and/or further delay—or even completely truncate—language and communication development (Beauchamp & MacLeod, 2017). The thin body of literature on autism and bilingualism makes it difficult to address these concerns from an empirical perspective. Furthermore, with its focus on children assessed in research and clinical settings, the extant investigative work makes it difficult for parents and professionals to visualize what bilingualism might look like among autistic adults and in real-life settings. To help fill this gap, the present conversation-analytic study examined ordinary bilingual conversations between a Latino/Hispanic adult on the autism spectrum and two of his frequent co-interactants. Prior to the collection of conversational samples, this study made use of an assessment battery, semi-structured interviews, and documental artifacts to produce thick descriptions of participants and complement findings obtained in subsequent data analysis sessions. Six hours of naturalistic conversation between the focal participant and his mom and sister were then recorded and sequentially analyzed following Conversation Analysis guidelines. The purpose was to identify salient and potentially interactionally-meaningful practices deployed by the autistic participant within these interactions and to establish the functional, structural, and indexical properties of one of these practices: language alternation. Key findings include the identification of 212 instances of functional language alternation (i.e., code-switching) that provided information about the focal participants’ linguistic preferences and competencies, evidenced his orientation to the linguistic predilection and competence of his co-interactants, and/or served discursive tasks within the unfolding conversation (e.g., speech representation, repair initiation/execution, emphasis). Contributions of these findings to the autism and bilingualism literature along with their implications for clinical practice are discussed.
Issue Date:2020-04-16
Rights Information:© 2020 Henry Angulo Jiménez
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05

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