Toddler using interjections in sign language

Toddler nodding as a visual "uh-huh"

More than "yes", the toddler Juli (age 2;4,1) began to use the interjection that is equivalent to "uh-huh" and its affirmative variants more often in the past few weeks.

Before that, Juli nodded as in "yes", the opposite of "no". Now lately, Juli nodded on a deeper meaning beyond "yes". She nodded in the form of "uh-huh", "yeah?" and other affirmative variants at the end of a simple sentence.

When Juli wanted something, she asked for it in ASL with a nod at the end of the sentence. It's like "okay?" or "yeah?"

Juli also sometimes thought for a moment and nodded to herself which is equivalent to "mm hmm". The other day Juli squatted and watched ladybugs doing their business. Juli silently thought to herself and nodded "mm hmm". I don't know what she was thinking about.

The emergence of ASL interjections "hmm" and "aah"

The interjection intj-hmm emerged in sign language that Juli (age 2;8,1) used often. E.g. ix-me want intj-hmm... chocolate! (her strategy to convince me), another one.. hmm.. (pointing to the another art supply), .

Shortly, Juli added a new interjection aah in her daily language. Her typical ASL utterance is like ix-me want, hmm... aah! candy.

It was her way of making it a suspense. Every time she did, she got my attention with curiosity as to what she was asking for or what she wanted. With the interjection "hmm", she made me curious or wonder, listening to her. With the interjection "aah!", she got my full attention.

With these interjections, her intonation also developed along.

A week later, I asked which banana or apple (for breakfast) she wanted. She replied, hmmm... ice-cream!. I told her no way. She explained, funny+++ with body ryhthms and laughed.

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.