Expressing manners and appreciation

Juli (age 1;2) stood in the middle of my bedroom and pointed at the treasure box. She looked "please" and produced necklace.

There was no necklace in that box. I pointed to the donwnstairs. I gestured "come-here" repeatedly and explained that necklace down-there, come-here. Look-for necklace, come-here.

Juli finally toddled toward me. We went downstairs. In the kitchen, I uttered Look-for necklace, look-for+++. Nothing. In the living room, I did the same. Nothing.

I led Juli into my den. Actually I knew all along the way where the necklace was. Juli stood in the doorway while I uttered Look-for+++ Ah! I pointed at the necklace lying on the floor and told Juli Found!

Juli entered and took a look. She forwarded to pick it up. She looked in my eyes and ultra-clearly uttered Thank-you. I stood there astounded.

Last week, I did something and Juli uttered thank-you. I asked myself did she really articulate that? Did I really see that? Now I know it's sure enough.

Requesting with "please"

Whenever Juli wanted to go to the basement, she stood in front of the gate and pointed at it. Not in mood, I introduced please to her to convince myself. After a few practices, she began to use please after pointing at the gate.

Furthermore, she also practiced please when pointing at the washing machine (to get up on the top of it), when pointing at the light switch, and some other requests.

Use of ASL words

The following words that Juli has used with references in the last couple of weeks: thank-you, mouse (correct movement, 5-closed handshape on chin area), please (imitation when requested), baby (correct movement), art ("A" handshape <-> open handshape), drink (with a distinct movement), moon (20-handshape), tree (previously mistook for "Christmas" because of the same production) and some reguarly used ASL words.

Teaching manners

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That todderhood had emerged more and more, I began to integrate manner words into daily behaviors. In parallel, I also began to give Juli a choice more to avoid possible toddler tantrums.

Juli often playfully took my glasses. After she's satisfied, I uttered give+me mother glasses please and extended my hand. Eventually, she handed me back my glasses. I responded thank-up, thank-you.

Saying "thank you", "please" and such is a bit too much in Canada. On the other hand, it's considered rude with a close friends and family members in some other cultures. These behaviors are formal that is not meant for close-knit friendship and family. In other cultures, these behaviors are moderate.

At this stage, I'm using manners to teach Juli an early behavior of respect and cooperation. But, later in her life, I don't expect such too much manners (e.g. uttering "please", "thank you", etc.) over a dinner table, for example. We don't practice these daily trivial manners in our culture for we are close. When we feel appreciated, grateful or another, we do tell thank-you and other such manner words.

Ava using BSL

Ava at 14 months old uses BSL (British Sign Language)

Both of Ava's parents are deaf that fortunately Ava was able to access language right from birth. The mother believes that "hearing parents should be given the chance to learn sign language and be able to communicate with their own child fully. We think its important to note that eventually it would be great to see this opportunity given to grandparents, siblings, and other family members/carers.

"Language is not a privilege, it is a right." -- YouTube, "nickbeese"

"I want HANDSPEAK to be a learning tool for my granddaughter to share with me. She is 14 months old and already signing letters. Although she has normal hearing, I believe that the more people she can communicate with the better she will be able to understand our world. She is also being taught Spanish by her mother (my daughter)." -- T. Schmitt, Pittsbugh, PA.

This documentation project follows a baby's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, week by week from gazing at birth to manual babbling, to first words just before the first birthday in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.

The second-year and third-year documentation continues to follow the same child's language and phonological acquisition and literacy development in ASL on a weekly basis from the one-word stage to two-word and multiple utterances.

The documentary continues to follow the same child's ASL language and literacy development on a regular basis from age three to four. It surveys ASL phonological acquisition and more complex utterances.

These posts on ASL-English bilingualism, language acquisition, and bilingual education may be of an interest for parents who raise a bilingual-bimodal child in ASL (or another signed language) and English (or another written and/or spoken language of its respective) as well as informative and educational for ASL specialists, educators, and professionals.