Toddler expressing time concepts in sign language

Approaching a bedtime one night, I reminded Juli, time six now. bed soon, #ok. Juli responded, six [headshake], ten [nodding].

Another night, I reminded Juli in ASL, translated as, "It's eight o'clock now. You're late for your bedtime." Juli replied, ten in ASL.

Next night, I told Juli, "It's eight now. Time for bed now." Juli shook head, ten!.

These days, I've been talking about time a lot, usually hour-based, omitting the minute part. Basic o-clock times.

Sure enough, Juli continued to express some more time-related concepts in the next week -- the last week of age two. For example, Juli used a new time-related concepts in ASL now and later.

One day puzzle pieces were scattered around on the table. Juli asked me, now ix-you pick-ix ("now you pick one of these puzzle pieces").

Another, Juli wanted to have a bath. I explained, Shower first; then, bath. Juli had a shower for a while. Then she decided, ix-me want bath now.

Juli wanted to watch TV. I told her in ASL, translated as "No TV. Do something else like reading a book or such." She replied, later book. I answered, #no, not later. Juli begged, promise little.

I'm not sure if Juli understood the concept of one hour, but I've used it several times to limit her TV time to one hour only. One day, Juli insisted me to join in her bath. She suggested, ix-you bathe ix-here one-hour. As stubborn as her, I declined. She repeatedly begged one-hour.. one-hour.. one-hour.

One Tuesday, (age 3;3) Juli's father dropped her off and told her that he would see her again on Thursday. I didn't mention about it till Wednesday night at a bedtime. Juli commented, tomorrow ix-me go with father. Did I see her signing "tomorrow"? I asked her to repeat. Sure enough, she signed tomorrow. Not only she used the ASL word tomorrow, but also she used the correct reference to the next day after her father told her the day before.

At age 3;4, Juli had uttered: not tomorrow! not tomorrow! now! (when she was upset that we'd go to a store the next day, not that day), one moment, little early (she commented when we entered her class).

Later at age 3;6, Juli read digital o'clock and tell in time in ASL. One morning, Juli asked me, hey, father come, pick-me-up time 10. I replied yes. She continued, But not now time 10 [looking at the digital clock] ix-it time 8:33). I was quite impressed.

At age 3;6 during this month in July, some of the following common usage that Juli had uttered: one-moment, wait, wait, one-moment.

At age 3;7, Juli used the ASL word before or in-the-past reguarly.


One Thursday morning, I dropped Juli (age 3;3) off at her preschool. She wanted me to stay a bit and read a book to her in ASL as usual. As I was sitting down, she talked about a birthday, today-here birthday. today-here birthday! I thought, what was she talking about? Why birthday? She emphasized, yours! today-here birthday, yours. Oh, right! How she remembered my birthday! I showed her the calendar many days ago and she had got the right sense of time, very close to the actual day. I replied, No, not today. This Saturday. Tomorrow, tomorrow Saturday. Juli insisted, No, today birthday.

Next day on Friday, Juli woke up one morning and first thing on her mind was that she wanted my birthday, two-us happy birthday. two-us go-to store, buy cake, cl-flame candle. I told her I will share my birthday with her on Saturday.

Language development

Large beautiful icicles hanged in front of the kitchen window. I called Juli to take a look. As I was signing beautiful, big, Juli didn't look at time. Instead, she was looking out the window and imitated me, beautiful, big.

It didn't surprise me as I knew she has been using her developed peripheral vision skill since she was under age one. I have been signing to her regardless of whether she was gazing at me or not.

Sometimes I told Juli, I told #no. She learned this phrase that she used it sometimes when I told her no.

For example, one day Juli asked for chocolate with a smirk. I told her #no. Juli spurted ix-me tell no!

A bowl of yogurt fell on the floor. I asked Juli why did she throw it. Juli admitted ix-me throw. I asked throw or happen?. Juli replied it-happened.

Some of the following random words and phrases that Juli used this week: you draw-here line (asking me to draw a line on the whiteboard), battery cl-dead (the battery for a device was dead), uncle have cat; uncle have bird/duck, (not sure where she talked about the bird/duck part), ix-me want-to go swimming (), horse sleep over-there.. yep (Juli rode on a horse a little while ago.), and some more shown in the video above.

Related posts

Also see Preschooler telling time and days