Another phase of ASL negation acquisition
The toddler Juli's language development was noticeably burst this week. Juli used many words that Juli hadn't used before, such as forget, better, leave-it-there, and some grammatical development, such as more locative inflections, new numeral incorporation pronoun (two-us) and more.
That was pretty many developmental parts this week. What these patterns show was that Juli understood more abstract and more complex a bit. For example, Juli might understand a bit more gradiant of some meanings. E.g. "the same" vs "also" or "too" and "no" (as rejection) vs "not".
The concept of "not" acquisition
One day, Juli waved with the handshape 1 (ASL interjection) and then utter same. Translated as, "It's not the same." At first, I thought that she used a creative way of expressing "not" using this gesture or ASL interjection. She hadn't used the ASL word not yet, which was a noraml stage.
Another day, Juli wanted a small toy car that she was looking for. Juli explained the hard way, car here, [headshake] outside. She was trying to tell me about the toy car inside this house, not the real big car outside. I didn't know why she used the ASL sign "small" or "tiny" which she knew.
At the end of this week, Juli bathed in a tub. She commented ix water [headshake] juice. Translated as "It is water, not juice."
Observing these patterns that I wrote down, I realize that these headshakes were a substitute of not. If I were replacing these headsakes and finger-waving with "not", they made sense which is different from "no".
Interesting, children use different way of expressing the concept of "not" in this phase of language acquisition, negation in this case. Juli probably knew that the ASL sign "no" didn't fit in this concept so she expressed it in a different way.
The concept of "same" and "also"
Juli uttered, ix-you play, ix-me play, too. She wanted us to play together. Another time, she signed you scared, ix-me scared, too. ix-me scared jump[loc+inflected]. She wanted me to jump all down the stairs but I was afraid. She insisted to dare me.
The ASL sign too is the same as also or same-as. But, there are two different signs for same. The one is the handshape Y back and forth for "also, "too", and "same as". The other one is the two-handed "1" handshapes repeated together for "the same as that", but it doesn't fit with the meaning for "too" or "also". Juli knew these two different signs for different meanings/contexts.
Juli used the "Y" one for these contexts correctly. I rarely used that double-handed "1" sign, but I suspected she learned from Grandma Z and others. However, Juli used both of these ASL signs reguarly and appeared to be sensitive to these gradient meanings (semantics).
Another, Juli moved a iron-structured chair across the wood floor. I stopped it and explained about the potential scratches on the wood floor. I showed the soft pads on the bottom of the wood chairs' legs that wouldn't scratch. Juli took the wood chair instead and signed, ix better ("It's better").
It's another gradient meaning of "better" (an abstract concept) unlike "more" (a concrete concept of having something more).
One bedtime Juli got in bed but realized something. She told me ix-me forget to-toothbrush. Hmm, isn't that "forget" (a negative word) concurrent with the negation phase?
Juli used stay several times and they all were locative or location-specific. E.g. She wanted her shirt to stay on. She signed stay toward her torso. Another time, tell me to stay there. Stay here. And so on.
Some of the following random words and phrases that Juli used this week: ix-me working (using my little desk), leave-it-there (telling me to leave the pizza piece there on the table), and some more shown in the video above.
Got a story to tell your experience and share it with others? Send an email to Handspeak. I'd love to hear about it, too.