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Preschooler telling o'clock in sign language

The three-year-old (3;5) learned to identify an o'clock, numerally fingerspelling the numbers. Unlike counting, she had no problem forming all numeral handshapes, including seven and eight, when identifying the time.

Initially, Juli read the digital time from right to left (just like she did in her early reading the letters from right to left). She identified the reversed shape of the digital five for two. I corrected, two. She insisted, five! I wrote down two and five on the paper and showed her the difference between two reversed shapes. She learned.

In the past months, I used only the hour time. Then, with the right timeline, I began to tell the o'clock fully -- both the hour and the minute parts. I use time telling every day with her and she seemed to understand the general concepts and the routines in connection to time. Whenever I tell time, she looked at the digital clock.

As she approached 3.5 years old, she read time more than few times a day. She recognized two and five correctly (both same shape, only "mirrored") and she also formed the ASL numbers seven and eight correctly when recognizing seven and eight in o'click, but not when counting from six to ten.

By age 3;6, Juli was able to tell the digital time correctly in each digit. She tended to utter in ASL, what time? one two, three nine (12:39 or any time here) as if she was telling a rhetorical question and then telling the time.

During that period, I also found myself beginning to tell time in the correct ASL format -- for example, twelve, thirty-nine instead of one two, three nine. Because, during that time Juli began to count from one to fifteen (skipping the usual 9) on her own and beyond 15 with my guide.

One morning (at age 3;6), 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). This clearly showed me that she understood a concept of time.

Expressing concepts of time

The earliest Juli expressed a concept of time was at age 2;11 (a month before her birthday), using the hour of time for her bedtime, "one hour", "now", and "later". These were her earliest time-related terms in ASL.

At age 3;7, I noticed that Juli used the ASL word before as in "in the past" more regularly.

For example, one day Juli was sitting on her pedal-less bicycle and bicycled through the puddles. She signed ix-me not cl-put-in ix(puddle) shoes wet.. before shoes wet. now, no. Translated as "I won't put my shoes in the puddle. In the past I did. But, I won't now." She wanted to assure me that she wouldn't get in trouble for me.

At this age, she also used tomorrow as well as now more commonly. E.g. save ice dream for tomorrow, father pick-up me tomorrow? and so on.

The other day (3;7), she insisted that she was a good girl so she asked to watch TV and she wouldn't cry (e.g. promised not to cry when time was up). I pointed out that she recently threw the tablet. She realized, ix-me so-sorry. ix-me really-sorry and then she mumbled in ASL to herself now ix-me cannot watch #tv.

Another, Juli reflected remember horse two-us. ix-me will bring/give horse carrot next time.

Expressing the concepts of days

The preschooler (age 3;7) seemed to understand the concepts of the days of the week for a long while now but hadn't really expressed the days till then.

One day Juli woke up and told me, good morning. I told her, today saturday. She replied, Friday no school.

Juli had talked about a concept of time/day. Then one day, I checked to see if Juli understood the wh-question "when". When an opportunity arised, I asked "When?" Juli replied, "tomorrow." (age 3;11)

One early morning as I was driving Juli (age 4;2) to preschool, I told her, Look, snowy! Hey, next month/\ my birthday.

As I looked at the rearview mirror, Juli corrected me, No, easter first! Then birthday. I was surprised that she knew the order of the events across the months of the year.

ASL language development

Juli liked to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. But, it was late spring and early summer, too warm. One morning Juli came to tell me, autumn day now to make an excuse to wear these clothes.

One night, I accidentally put a step stool below the temperature control. Juli discovered this exciting idea and she checked the temperature box. I urged her to bed. In bed, apparently, Juli couldn't get this thing off her mind. She got up and told me, ix-me check hot temperature.

At bedtime the other night, Juli talked about different things. She mentioned, ix-me saw rainbow far there.

Some of the following examples that Juli had uttered during this month in June/July: , and some more.

Related posts

Also see Toddler expressing the concepts of time

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.