The stage of two-word utterance in sign language

The baby Juli produced her first two-word utterance long before the second one at 14 months. Back then, 14 months old Juli pointed and then produced milk cow, where she produced "cow" with the two-handed "20" handshape.

On the last day of the 14th month, out of blue sky, the baby Juli had begun producing more than a few two-word utterances in ASL in single day.

For example, dad/firefighter drive. Slowly one after another two-word phrase began to emerge more and more in the next days/weeks.

For example, one day as Juli's father exited, I explained to Juli in ASL, translated as, Dad is gone for work. He drives to work. Juli thought for a moment and produced two words: work dad.

At one point (as seen in the video at age 1, month 3) Juli produced a three-word utterance (work dad [signed]); unfortunatley, I couldn't identify the last third production.

Then, two-word utterances came in constantly after 14 months of age, which was the time I recognized as the emergence of two-word utternace stage.

Between the first several two-word utterances at 14 months old (1;2) and 17 months old this week (1;5,2), Juli constantly used two-word or sometimes multi-word utterances.

Typically they say a toddler learns "10 new words per day" at 18-20 months in spoken language. It is the phase when a toddler began to pick up 10 words per day. It was not like a out of blue sky but there must be a progress toward that.

That is, 17-month-old Juli began to exhibit a gradually increasing number of words a day. She picked up more and more words a day, gradually. Two-word utterances continued to expand.

A number of two-word utterances had increased much more than before. Juli uttered at least few two-word phrases on a daily basis. Plus, multi-word utterances began to emerge a little more and more in the next weeks. She uttered more than a few words that I couldn't capture all but some.

Now Juli seemed a bit more comfortable with producing recognizable two-word utterances a bit more regularly. Below are some examples from the last two weeks.

Two-word utterances from last week

Holding in my arm, Juli looked at the little trinket of a sleeping cat on the kitchen window shelf. She pointed at the cat and uttered cat sleep.

At naptime in her dark bedroom, Juli stopped and turned to look at me. She signed eat grapes. I replied,(translated as) "Nono, it's time to sleep now." Lately, she did that sometimes.

Juli managed her fear well through the carwash. We used the ASL sign/word "bath" to comfort her car bath. As soon as we exited the carwash, Juli uttered water bath done.

And, vacuum father ("Dad is vacuuming"), vacuum done ("The vacuum has stopped."), baby bird (from memory of a baby bird in our backyard one raining day), more cookie...

Two-word utterances this week

Juli, sitting in highchair at mealtime, uttered friend girl bye-bye where the production "bye-bye" was in a referential space in the direction toward the door.

At bedtime and naptime in her bedroom, Juli would sometimes "got up". Then she looked at me and articulated eat cherry. She was unlikely hungry but she likely wanted to continue playing or hanging around.

Another night, I had been trying to help her to sleep. Everything was quiet and still, holding her in my arms. Suddenly, Juli burst and clearly articulated poop dog! poop poop dooooggg! poop dog poop dog!! I nodded and smiled.

Earlier that day on our short walk, Juli stopped and observed a woman walking with a dog. Then, the dog found a spot to do his/her poop. I explained Juli that the dog was making a poop.

Back home, Juli told her father Dude a story, dog poop. Dude was like "huh"? I explained what we saw.

Back to that night, Juli continued poop! She pointed at the door few times. I asked you juli poop?. Juli somehow began to shift on talking about herself. I began to think maybe it was her potty need.

She probably tricked me but it was all worth trying her first potty success. I brought her to the bathroom and she pointed at the toilet and uttered poop, poop!. I put her on the potty. Nothing happened.

After shopping, Juli was put in the carseat. She looked out the window and uttered many cars.

Juli and I got up one early morning. Dude was still sleeping. As Juli and I walked down the stairs, she articulated father sleep.. father sleep.

She hanged around at the bathtub playing with a stacking cup of some water. She attempted to drink from it, but I discouraged her from doing it. She looked at me and articulated water drink.

On the last day of this week, sitting in highchair, out of blue sky, Juli articulated poop! poop! poop dog, dirty, stinky! Four words! She produced these so clearly.

Others were father pants (then pointing at the pants), dirty, clean-up (referring to the highchair tray), many spiders (reading at mealtime)...

Use of ASL words

The following referential words that Juli has used this week: gorilla (often used), giraffe (one of her two new loveys), lightning (lightning and thunder that one night), drawing, bug, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

Related posts

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.