Phonological process in sign language L1

A few new phonological developments emerged that the toddler Juli had somehow became aware of the handshape, movement, and palm orientation during a few weeks at age 17-18 months old.

As she signed, she slowed down the production and studied in the same way a child listens to herself as she vocally speaks.

One Sunday morning, Juli woke up and sat up right away. First thing she did was uttering jump, jump, jump. She stood up on the bed and jumped.

Juli had formed the correct phonological aspect of the ASL production jump, which is the palm orientation.

Prior to that, the movement of jump had been horizontal. Now with the correct palm orientation of the ASL word, the movement is now vertical.

Juli sat down on the bed and asked father?. I told her that he was gone for work. She pondered and uttered father work firefighter.. fire hot.. hot.. hot.

As she produced the ASL word hot a few times, she studied herself in the same way a toddler listens to herself while vocally producing a word.

Before, the ASL productions for firefigther and father were the same but they were clearly identified in most contexts.

Now Juli had formed the approximately correct handshape for firefighter ("open-B" handshape), which is now distinct from father in which its "20" (or flat baby "o") handshape remains the same.

When producing computer in the past, the location was on the same side of the torso as the dominant hand. Now she was able to use the opposite side of her torso (but not on her arm yet).

At age 1;7,3, Juli produced the ASL word star almost perfectly with the correct "1" handshape. In the past months, she used the "A" handshape when signing star.

Phonological development: movement and location

Juli (at 1;6,2) knew a subtle difference of the movement between rain and snow. She produced them with the correct movement.

Before Juli used to produce flower below the nose, but now she produced it correctly on the nose.

Phonological development in American Sign Language

The first stage of ASL phonological developemnt consists a very small set of handshapes, movements, and locations. And, for a long time before it began to unfold further in a native-signing toddler at 18 months or age 2.

In the first week of the 9th month (1;8;1), the handshape for apple began to form into a regular (correct) handshape, which was "X", but not fully complete.

The handshape she started with was "A" for a long while, before she began to form it into the handshape "S". In short time, it began to form into the "X" handshape.

In the second week (1;8,2), when Juli produced pet/petting, it used to be one-handed in neutral space. Now she produced it on her base hand. Correct production.

That week I introduced an inflected adjective of very-cold when Juli produced a regular ASL adjective cold.

Following that week (1;8,3), Juli began to use the inflected adjective very-cold and sometimes both, cold.. very-cold! on several occasions. At one point, she uttered cold (repeated) and then inflected very-cold (one long movement).

It's unclear whether she understood the difference between these two, but she produced them naturally and correctly.

Juli excitedly pointed at the stuffed moose on the top of the shelf and produced with the "1" handshape (thumb/closed fingers on the side of her head which looks like a horn), one-handed.

I showed the correct form of the moose. Juli responded with the correct handshape ("5"), two-handed palms in contact with the sides of her head.

It was exciting because it was the first "5" handshape on the side of head. She used the "A" handshape for mother, the "20" handshape for father, firefighter and moon, and so on.

(1;9,3) When producing waggling-tail, the use of the elbow with the base hand had emerged.

Use of emerging + established ASL words and utterances

The following referential words and phrases that Juli has used this week: father work, father video another (requesting for another video of her father), read book (pointing at the book on the top of the piano), cherry grape to-eat (asking for either grape or cherry to eat at bedtime, making an excuse to get away from bedtime), toothbrush done (Juli informed me after her bath at bedtime), ball cl-throw-up, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

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.