The bilingual preschooler Juli (age 3;6) listened to me telling a story in ASL at bedtime as I read the "Sleeping Beauty" to her at nights. She picked up me using referential listing when I talked about three fairies and their names.
A few nights later, Juli told me about her day at bedtime. She signed ix-me saw firefigther truck and ambulance, siren ix-there downtown. Three: 1) firefighter 2) ambulance 3) police. Firefighter (truck) stopped, siren none. Helps people. Water dangerous!.
Several days ago, I used the listing of three civil services: firefighter, police, and ambulance. I was surprised that she remembered this only once and used it herself later on.
One night at age 3;7, I stood in the bedroom to see that Juli got in her bed. As she passed the doorway, she paused. She signed, ix-me forget something. I didn't get it at first because I hadn't seen her using "something" before. She repeated it. I asked what did she forget? She replied, ix-me forget to-bathe. two-us (you and me) go-to bath.
That same day, Juli signed many, many mice. The indefinite pronoun "something" was something new she used; however, other common indefinite pronouns that she routinely used were: #all, another/other, and none/nothing.
Around that time, Juli was also seen using the signed word first. E.g. first put-on shoes.
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.
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.